The Role of Ideological Beliefs and Tolerance for Uncertainty in Seeking Esoteric Services

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Abstract

Objective. Assessing the relationship between the use of esoteric services, tolerance for uncertainty and beliefs unpredictability and determinism.
Background. Esoteric practices today represent a significant market sector worldwide and in Russia. At the same time, predictors of use of such services are still poorly studied. Most psychological research has focused on beliefs in the paranormal or supernatural, while much less attention has been paid to associated behavioral practices.
Study design. Cross-sectional survey study.
Participants. Adult population of Russia (N = 1498, 47% males). A quota sample of an online panel was used to represent the adult population of Russia in terms of gender and age composition and representation of the urban and rural population. Mean age 41,6 years old (SD = 12,72).
Measurements. Russian-language versions of tolerance to uncertainty (MSTAT-I) and belief in freedom/determinism (FAD-Plus) scales, assessment of socio-demographic and behavioral parameters using survey methods.
Results. Seeking esoteric services is associated with a range of beliefs about determinism and unpredictability and is more common among women and people with high religiosity. Contrary to the hypothesis put forward, no relationship was found between seeking esoteric services and tolerance of uncertainty.
Conclusions. Seeking esoteric services is closely related to beliefs about the world: belief in determinism (both fatalistic and scientific) may be a facilitator of the use of such services, while beliefs in unpredictability and freedom are negatively associated with the use of such services.

General Information

Keywords: tolerance to uncertainty; beliefs; religiosity; esoteric practices

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/sps.2023140412

Funding. The reported study was funded by Russian Science Foundation (RSF), project number 22-28-01792, https://rscf.ru/en/project/22-28-01792/.

Received: 01.10.2023

Accepted:

For citation: Antonova N.A., Eritsyan K.Y., Usacheva N.M. The Role of Ideological Beliefs and Tolerance for Uncertainty in Seeking Esoteric Services. Sotsial'naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2023. Vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 194–209. DOI: 10.17759/sps.2023140412. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)

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Information About the Authors

Natalia A. Antonova, PhD in Psychology, Assistant Professor at Psychology Institute, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, St.Petersburg, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5471-8902, e-mail: antonova.natalia11@gmail.com

Ksenia Y. Eritsyan, PhD in Psychology, Researcher at Psychology Institute, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, St.Petersburg, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4400-0593, e-mail: ksenia.eritsyan@gmail.com

Nina M. Usacheva, Researcher at Psychology Institute, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, St.Petersburg, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8722-3976, e-mail: usachevanm@gmail.com

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