British Journal of Developmental Psychology

Skip to Search

Skip to Navigation

Volume 20 Issue 4 (November 2002), Pages 465-622

Magical thinking in childhood and adolescence: Development and relation to obsessive compulsion (pages 479-494)

Magical thinking in childhood bears at least superficial similarities to obsessive compulsion, and recent cognitive models of obsessive compulsive disorder implicate forms of thinking akin to the magical. However, there has been little research on the relations between normal magical thinking in childhood and obsessive compulsion. The present study has two aims: to investigate magical thinking in young children and through to late adolescence, and to examine the relation between magical thinking and obsessive compulsion. It was found that children across the age range studied reported some magical thinking, and there was no general decline in the level of magical thinking with age. This overall pattern was complicated, however, by fluctuations in the level of magical thinking in later childhood and early adolescence, and by gender differences. There was a significant correlation between levels of magical thinking and obsessive compulsion. The results are discussed in the light of current theories.

Add This link

Bookmark and Share>