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J Anxiety Disord. 2003;17(1):115-30.

Superstitiousness and perceived anxiety control as predictors of psychological distress.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, College of Medicine at Peoria, University of Illinois, 5407 N University St, Suite C, Peoria, IL 61614, USA.


It has been suggested that superstitiousness may be a subclinical manifestation of obsessive-compulsive symptomatology. The present study examined whether the relationship between superstitiousness and obsessive-compulsive symptoms was exclusive or whether superstitiousness was a less specific construct. A sample of undergraduates (n=191) completed measures associated with superstitiousness, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, symptoms of anxiety disorders other than obsessive-compulsive disorder (panic symptoms, agoraphobic cognitions, worry, and social fears), general psychological distress (anxiety, depression, and stress), and perception of anxiety control. Results indicated a gender difference in superstitiousness exists, with females being significantly more superstitious than males. Little relationship was found between superstitiousness and the other constructs in males, whereas moderate relationships were found between superstitiousness and the other constructs in females. The suggestion that superstitiousness is nonspecific and related more to perception of control than any specific form of psychological distress is discussed.

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