Paranormal belief, anxiety and perceived control over life events

Chris A Roe, Claire Bell

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportConference Contributionpeer-review


The psychodynamic functions hypothesis has been proposed as a means to explain the high levels of paranormal belief among the population. According to this view, the world appears to some to be unpredictable, uncontrollable and inherently meaningless, which gives rise to anxiety. Paranormal beliefs may develop to allay this anxiety by offering the promise of order and personal power. Although there is some evidence to support the putative association betweenthe three variables of perceived helplessness, anxiety and paranormal belief, these have not previously been considered together in the same population. Sixty-five participants completed a battery of measures including the State-Trait Anxiety Index (Spielberger, 1983), the Paranormal Belief Scale (Tobacyk, 1988) as well as newly constructed Estimated Likelihood of Stressful Events and Perceived Control over Stressful Events scales. No relationship was found between perceived control over future life events and paranormal belief, but measures of state and trait anxiety correlated significantly with both perceived control and paranormal belief. Results of a path analysis suggested a model that was broadly in agreement with the psychodynamic functions hypothesis in describing a mediating role for anxiety
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 50th Annual Parapsychological Association Convention
EditorsJohn Palmer
PublisherParapsychological Association
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2012
EventThe Parapsychological Association, Inc.50th Annual Convention - Holiday Inn Select Halifax Centre, Halifax, Canada
Duration: 2 Aug 20075 Aug 2007


ConferenceThe Parapsychological Association, Inc.50th Annual Convention


  • Paranormal belief
  • Anxiety
  • Perceived control
  • Life events
  • Psychology


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