Religiosity, Magical Ideation, and Paranormal Beliefs in Anxiety Disorders and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Cross-Sectional Study

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The relation between religiosity/spirituality (R/S), personal beliefs, and mental health has been extensively studied. However, concerning anxiety disorders (ADs), empirical evidence is scarce. This study investigated the differences in R/S and magical/paranormal ideation among obsessive-compulsive disorder patients (OCD; n = 49), patients with other ADs (n = 36), and healthy controls (HCs; n = 35). Our results suggest negative religious coping as being the only parameter showing significantly higher scores in OCD and AD participants in comparison with HCs. Negative religious coping reflects negative functional expressions of R/S in stressful situations. Logistic regression also suggested negative religious coping as the strongest predictor of group affiliation to the nonhealthy group. Further results show no significant differences between other R/S, magical, and paranormal ideation traits among groups. This study underlines an important role of negative religious coping in ADs yet does not clearly indicate a specific causality. Religious-sensitive treatment targeting cognitive aspects of negative religious coping are discussed.

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