Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Camilo Ortiz, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Frances Dalis, Psy.D.

Third Advisor

Linnea Mavrides, Ph.D.


Research has established a relationship between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and belief in paranormal phenomena (Lawrence et al., 1994). In the present study, I sought to replicate this finding in more detail by examining seven dimensions of paranormality. Further, the current study investigated whether locus of control moderated the relationship between ACEs and paranormal belief. I hypothesized that ACEs positively correlated with paranormal belief. Further, I hypothesized that the relationship between ACEs and paranormal belief would be moderated by locus of control, such that, the stronger the internal locus of control, the weaker the relationship between ACEs and paranormal belief. Data in this cross-sectional, correlational study was collected using Cloud Research Connect. Participants (N = 101) completed the Adverse Childhood Experiences Survey (ACES), the Rotter’s Locus of Control Scale (LCS), and the Revised Paranormal Belief Scale (RPBS). The data supported the hypothesis that ACEs positively correlated with adult belief in the paranormal. The relationship between ACEs and adult belief in the paranormal was not moderated by locus of control as hypothesized. However, ACEs were positively correlated with external locus of control, supporting findings from other studies, such as Irwin (1993), that individuals with a history of adverse childhood experiences are less likely to believe they hold control over their lives. The current study provided insight into the development of paranormal belief, as well as how ACEs can impact an individual’s view of themselves and the world – each of which is important to understand when providing psychological treatment. Key words: Trauma, Paranormal Beliefs, Supernatural, Adverse Childhood Experiences, Religion, Locus of Control, Cognitions, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy