The Relationship Between Magical Thinking, Inferential Confusion and Obsessive–Compulsive Symptoms
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Inferential confusion is an under-researched faulty reasoning process in obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). Based on an overreliance on imagined possibilities, it shares similarities with the extensively researched construct of thought–action fusion (TAF). While TAF has been proposed as a specific subset of the broader construct of magical thinking, the relationship between inferential confusion and magical thinking is unexplored. The present study investigated this relationship, and hypothesised that magical thinking would partially mediate the relationship between inferential confusion and obsessive–compulsive symptoms. A non-clinical sample of 201 participants (M = 34.94, SD = 15.88) were recruited via convenience sampling. Regression analyses found the hypothesised mediating relationship was supported, as magical thinking did partially mediate the relationship between inferential confusion and OC symptoms. Interestingly, inferential confusion had the stronger relationship with OC symptoms in comparison to the other predictor variables. Results suggest that inferential confusion can both directly and indirectly (via magical thinking) impact on OC symptoms. Future studies with clinical samples should further investigate these constructs to determine whether similar patterns emerge, as this may eventually inform which cognitive errors to target in treatment of OCD.
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