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Magical Thinking and Obsessional Experiences: Mediator Role of Thought Control Strategies

Orçun Yorulmaz.

Research has shown that magical thinking is a critical variable in Obsessive Compulsive (OC) symptoms, as well as in some related cognitions. On the other hand, a number of thought control strategies to address unwanted thoughts have been found to have paradoxical roles in these symptoms, and there is no empirical study investigated the role of these strategies in magical thinking towards OC symptoms. Accordingly, the aim of this study is to explore the association between some specific and maladaptive thought control methods (i.e., worry, punishment and suppression) and magical thinking for obsessional experiences, after controlling for negative affect.
A community sample of 496 people completed a self-report measures of their paranormal beliefs, thought control, thought suppression, and symptoms of depression, anxiety and OC in 2015. The results of the correlation analysis indicated a positive association between magical thinking, punishment and suppression, as well as symptoms of OC, depression and general anxiety; after general negative affect was partialled out, these relationships still maintained. Furthermore, a series of hierarchical regression and bootstrapping analyses revealed that paranormal beliefs specifically trigger these two control methods, which in turn contribute to the emergence of symptoms of OC. The findings of the current study seem to concur with cognitive accounts and research and support the paradoxical roles of some control strategies, namely punishment and suppression, in cases with obsessional experiences. Thus, community should be informed about nature of intrusions, the impacts of magical thinking and these thought control strategies.

Key words: Magical Thinking, Punishment, Thought Suppression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Symptoms

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