Paranormal Health Beliefs: Relations Between Social Dominance Orientation and Mental Illness

Donizzetti Anna Rosa*
Department of Humanities, University of Naples “Federico II”, Napoli, Italy

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Creative Commons License
© 2018 Donizzetti Anna Rosas.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Humanities, University of Napoli “Federico II”, Donizzetti Anna Rosa, via Porta di Massa 1 – 80133 Napoli, Italy; Tel: +39 0812535459; E-mail:



Illusory beliefs are false beliefs that fulfill the function of creating a “filter” through which reality acquires order and meaning. Even though many studies have been conducted on this topic, there have been few investigations into the role illusory beliefs play, as specifically related to health concerns.


The current research takes up the objective of investigating the relationships between paranormal health beliefs (with specific reference to pseudo-scientific beliefs of a bio-medical nature), social dominance orientation, god-centered health locus of control, and coping by turning to religion, as well as their predictive role with respect to mental illness.


432 adults (76.8% women) were contacted, with a median age of 24.9 years (DS=11.6). A self-report questionnaire, composed of various instruments, was administered to the participants. The questionnaire consisted of the following instruments: Paranormal Health Beliefs Scale, Social Dominance Orientation, Health Locus of Control Scale, Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced and General Health Questionnaire. Descriptive and correlational analyses were performed, along with structural equations modeling.


Based on the analyses conducted, it emerged that social dominance orientation and the god-centered health locus of control are antecedents for pseudo-scientific beliefs of a bio-medical nature, which, in turn, affect coping by turning to religion. Coping by turning to religion predicts perceived illness.


These results provide a useful direction for understanding the factors that influence the health decisions of individuals and, therefore, must be taken into consideration even in the most diverse health contexts.

Keywords: Paranormal Health Beliefs, Social Dominance Orientation, Mental Illness, Locus of Control, Health, Copy of strategies.