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ARE DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS POSITIVELY OR NEGATIVELY ASSOCIATED WITH THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL?

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Abstract:

This research addressed whether depressive symptoms were positively or negatively associated with the extent to which research participants showed an illusion of control. In Study 1, 85 female college students participated in a psychokinesis (PK) task and completed a magical ideation scale. Consistent with research reported by Thalbourne and others (e.g., Thalbourne & Delin, 1994), participants who showed higher levels of depressive symptoms also showed higher illusory control scores. In Study 2, 105 participants completed a precognition task and a PK task as well as a judgment of contingency task used by Alloy and Abramson (1979) to test the so-called “depressive realism” hypothesis. Factor analysis confirmed two factors, one on which the judgments on the Precognition and PK tasks loaded and one on which the judgment on the contingency task loaded. Results replicated the finding in Study 1 for the paranormal tasks. For the contingency task, consistent with Alloy and Abramson's depressive realism model, participants showing higher levels of depressive symptoms also showed lower illusory control scores. Results are related to research that documents a relation between various forms of magical thinking and psychopathology.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2003.31.5.483

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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