Psychopathological significance of fantasy proneness as measured by the Creative Experiences Questionnaire: a meta-analysis
background Fantasy proneness has been linked to dissociative symptoms and adverse childhood experiences.
aim To review and meta-analyze the empirical literature on fantasy proneness (as indexed by the Creative Experiences Questionnaire) that appeared between 2000 and 2018.
method We searched Google Scholar to identify relevant papers and subjected them to inspection. In doing so, we specifically looked at correlations between fantasy proneness, on the one hand, and dissociative symptoms, magical ideation, depression, anxiety, trauma, and susceptibility to false memories, on the other hand. Correlations were weighted using the Hunter-Schmidt approach.
results We identified 97 studies that together included 16.999 research participants. Fantasy proneness strongly correlated with both dissociative symptoms and magical ideation. The association of fantasy proneness with depression and anomalistic was moderate. Its association with trauma and anxiety was small, albeit significant, and much the same was true for false memories.
conclusion The psychopathological relevance of fantasy proneness is broader than just dissociative symptoms. The modest correlation between trauma and fantasy proneness suggests that, apart from trauma, other causal antecedents of fantasy proneness exist. What fantasy proneness, dissociation, and magical ideation have in common is that they are manifestations of apophenia, i.e., the tendency to overinterpret reality.