Role of magical thinking in obsessive-compulsive symptoms in an undergraduate sample

Danielle A. Einstein*, Ross G. Menzies

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Thought action fusion (TAF) is an important presenting feature of many individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). "Magical thinking" is a similar construct (developed within the literature on schizotypy) that may provide a more accurate depiction of difficulties encountered by individuals with OCD. This study seeks to examine relationships between components of magical thinking, TAF, and superstitiousness; establish the extent to which these constructs are independently related to OCD proneness; and establish the extent to which these biased reasoning styles are related to each of the major OCD symptom clusters (e.g., washing, checking). The Padua Inventory (PI), the Maudsley Obsessional-Compulsive Inventory (MOCI), the Magical Ideation Scale (MI), the Lucky Behaviours (Lbeh) and Lucky Beliefs (Lbel) Scales, and the Thought Action Fusion-Revised scale (TAF-R) were given to a cohort of 86 undergraduate students. Of all the measures, the MI scale was found to be the most strongly related to obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Large and significant relationships between MI scores and the two measures of OCD (i.e., MOCI and PI) were obtained even when alternative mediators (i.e., Lbeh, Lbel, TAF-R) were held constant. No other variable remained significantly related to the MOCI or PI when magical ideation scores were held constant. The findings suggest that a general magical thinking tendency may underpin previous observed links between superstitiousness, thought action fusion, and OCD severity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-179
Number of pages6
JournalDepression and Anxiety
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Thought action fusion

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