Paranormal Beliefs and Experiences in Relation to Subjective Health and Schizotypy

Sammanfattning: This thesis aimed at investigating paranormal beliefs and experiences in relation to subjective health and ill-health in terms of schizotypy. Following a literature review, two empirical studies are presented. The purpose of the studies was to investigate which of two models best describes the construct schizotypy. Within the quasi-dimensional model, schizotypy is viewed as something connected with ill-health, whereas it is possible to view schizotypy as sometimes connected with ill-health and sometimes with health within the fully dimensional model (Claridge, 1997). Individuals were grouped according to their scores on a multi-dimensional schizotypy measure, the Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (O-LIFE; Mason, Claridge & Jackson, 1995). The group differences on a health-related measure, the Sense of Coherence (SOC; Antonovsky, 1991) Scale and a measure of paranormal beliefs and experiences, the Australian Sheep-Goat Scale (ASGS; Thalbourne & Delin, 1993) were examined. In study I, an agglomerative hierarchical cluster analysis of 88 students’ responses on the O-LIFE, Unusual Experiences (UE), Cognitive Disorganisation (CD), and Introvertive Anhedonia (IA) sub-scales suggested three separate clusters. These were labelled Cognitive Disorganisation/Introvertive Anhedonia (CD/IA), Unusual Experiences (UE), and Low Schizotypy (LS). One-way ANOVA:s revealed that the CD/IA cluster scored lower on the SOC Scale than the other clusters and that the UE cluster scored higher than the LS cluster on the ASGS. In study II, 129 paranormal believers/experients participated. An agglomerative hierarchical cluster analysis and a subsequent k-means cluster analysis of the UE, CD, and IA sub-scales of the O-LIFE suggested three separate clusters, labelled Introvertive Anhedonia (IA), Low Schizotypy (LS), and Cognitive Disorganisation (CD). One-way ANOVA:s showed that the LS cluster scored significantly higher on the SOC Scale compared to the other clusters, whereas there were no significant differences across the clusters on the ASGS. The finding that the UE and LS clusters of study I had similar SOC scores and that the paranormal believers and experients in the LS cluster of study II had very high SOC scores support the fully dimensional model for schizotypy over the disease-based quasi-dimensional model. The results suggest that paranormal beliefs and experiences on their own are not associated with perceived ill-health.

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