This study examines the extent to which recalled childhood exposure to three different styles of parental caregiving (rejecting, unresponsive, and overprotective parenting) predict four facets of adult paranormality (self-reported anomalous experiences, beliefs, ability, and fears). Path analysis controlling for respondents’ age and qualifications revealed that more anomalous experiences were a direct predictor of stronger anomalous beliefs which in turn predicted more self-proclaimed anomalous ability, with the latter then predicting, somewhat surprisingly, more anomalous fears. Of the three child-rearing styles, rejecting parenting directly predicted more anomalous experiences as did overprotective parenting (marginally). Also surprisingly, unresponsive parenting directly predicted more anomalous fears. Subsequent indirect (mediating) effects through more anomalous fears, ability, and beliefs also emerged. Findings are discussed in relation to claims that adoption of a paranormal worldview serves as a psychological mechanism for coping with an unhappy or insecure childhood. Methodological limitations and ideas for future research are also considered.
- Parenting style