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Behav Res Ther. 2004 May;42(5):539-49.

The presence of magical thinking in obsessive compulsive disorder.

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  • 1School of Behavioural and Community Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, Australia.


Two research groups have raised the possibility that magical ideation may be a fundamental feature of obsessive-compulsive disorder. It has been proposed to underlie thought action fusion and superstitious beliefs. In this study, the Magical Ideation scale, the Lucky Behaviours and Lucky Beliefs scales, the Thought Action Fusion-Revised scale, the Padua Inventory, and the Obsessive Compulsive Inventory-Short Version were completed by 60 obsessive compulsive patients at a hospital clinic. Of all the measures, the Magical Ideation (MI) scale was found to be the most strongly related to obsessive compulsive symptoms. Large and significant relationships between MI scores and the measures of OCD were obtained even when alternative constructs (Lucky Behaviours, Lucky Beliefs, Thought Action Fusion-Revised scales) were held constant. No other variable remained significantly related to the Obsessive Compulsive Inventory-Short Version 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.

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