Effects of Stress and Tolerance of Ambiguity on Magical Thinking

Giora Keinan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


The present study investigated the relationship between psychological stress and magical thinking and the extent to which such a relationship may be moderated by individuals' tolerance of ambiguity. Questionnaires assessing different types of magical thinking and tolerance of ambiguity were administered to 174 Israeli citizens who, during the Gulf War, resided in areas that were either exposed (high-stress condition) or not exposed (low-stress condition) to missile attacks. Magical thinking emerged more frequently in Ss under high-stress conditions than in those under low-stress conditions. Furthermore, high stress levels exerted a more pronounced effect on the emergence of magical thinking in individuals with low tolerance of ambiguity than in those with high tolerance. Results are discussed in relation to the concept of personal control and coping strategies adopted by individuals for attaining such control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-55
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1994


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