The first and second authors contributed equally to the preparation of this paper. Russell J. Webster is now at Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota, USA.
Methodological and theoretical improvements in the study of superstitious beliefs and behaviour
Article first published online: 24 OCT 2012
© 2012 The British Psychological Society
British Journal of Psychology
Volume 105, Issue 1, pages 102–126, February 2014
How to Cite
Fluke, S. M., Webster, R. J. and Saucier, D. A. (2014), Methodological and theoretical improvements in the study of superstitious beliefs and behaviour. British Journal of Psychology, 105: 102–126. doi: 10.1111/bjop.12008
- Issue published online: 6 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 24 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 6 AUG 2012
- Manuscript Received: 3 FEB 2011
Via four studies (N = 901), we developed an improved Belief in Superstition Scale (BSS) composed of three distinct components (belief in bad luck, belief in good luck, and the belief that luck can be changed), whose structure was supported through exploratory (Study 1) and confirmatory (Studies 2 and 3) factor analyses using divergent samples. We found that among theoretical predictors, higher ‘chance’ locus of control (i.e., the belief that chance/fate controls one's life) best predicted all three BSS subscales (Studies 2–3). In Study 3, we found that BSS subscale scores were reliable, but largely invariant across age and education with a non-general psychology sample. In Study 4, the BSS subscales best predicted participants’ superstitious attitudes and behaviour in a new lottery drawing paradigm among other commonly used superstition scales. Taken together, our results indicate that the BSS is a valuable addition to the burgeoning research on superstitious attitudes and behaviour.