Personality and Paranormal Belief: a study among adolescents

A sample of 279 13- to 16-year-old adolescents completed the Short-form Revised Junior Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (JEPQR-S) and a six-item Index of Paranormal Belief. The data demonstrate that neuroticism is fundamental to individual differences in paranormal belief, while paranormal belief is independent of extraversion and psychoticism.
KEY WORDS: Personality, Eysenck, Paranormal religion

In recent years increased interest has been placed on the study of paranormal beliefs among teenagers. For example, Boyd (1996) conducted a study among 506 teenagers between the ages of 14 and 16 attending non-denominational schools. The data demonstrated that 46% were uncertain whether experimenting in the occult was harmful, one in five (19%) said they had used an ouija board occasionally, and 41% agreed that it was possible to contact spirits of the dead. Francis and Kay (1995) found similar results in their study of over 13,000 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 15. The data demonstrated that over one-third (35%) believed in their horoscope, 37% believed in ghosts, and one in five (18%) believed in black magic. The data also demonstrated a positive correlation between belief in supernatural phenomena and age, indicating that older pupils were more likely to believe in paranormal phenomena than younger pupils (pp. 151-163). However, other studies have demonstrated a negative correlation between paranormal belief and age. For example, Preece and Baxter (2000) conducted a study among 2,159 students in years 7 (11- to 12-year-olds), 9 (13- to 14- year-olds) and 11 (15- to 16- year-olds) from 22 schools and 51 trainee teachers participating in the postgraduate certificate of education programme (PGCE). The data demonstrated that levels of scepticism regarding paranormal beliefs became more pronounced among older participants, with the PGCE students being the most sceptical…

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