Is belief in bad luck a harmless superstition, or can it cause significant psychological damage? – A new study explores the fear of misfortune

According to research conducted by the researchers at, people who believe that bad luck is a real and powerful force are more likely to struggle with stress, mental health issues, and major insecurity.

MONTREAL, Feb.18, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Three ships that flight attendant Violet Jessop worked on – the RMS Olympic, HMHS Britannic, and the famous RMS Titanic – suffered disasters at sea. Engineer Tsutomu Yamaguchi had just arrived in Hiroshima when the first atomic bomb was dropped. He suffered burns and hearing loss. Three days later the second bomb hit just as he was leaving Hiroshima. Both Jessop and Yamaguchi survived their ordeals, so maybe good fortune was on their side – and then again maybe not. Regardless as to whether luck is a real phenomenon, a recent study indicates that people who believe in bad luck are more likely to be unhappy, pessimistic, and less resistant to stress.

Analyzing data collected from 1,456 people who took the Hardiness Test, PsychTests’ researchers examined two unique segments of the population: people who believe in bad luck (the “Luckless” group) and those who don’t (the “Pragmatists” group). Here’s what the data revealed:

> 50% of the Luckless group said that they feel helpless when it comes to changing or improving their lives (vs. 9% of Pragmatists).
> 47% believe that they are at the mercy of fate, the universe, or even other people (vs. 6% of Pragmatists).
> 49% think that achieving success is dependent on factors they have no control over (vs. 14% of Pragmatists).

> 42% allow fear to affect their decisions (vs. 17% of Pragmatists).
> 62% assume the worst of people and/or expect most situations to turn out badly (vs. 18% of Pragmatists).
> 57% are chronic complainers (vs. 13% of Pragmatists).
> 50% carry around good luck charms, cast protective spells, or try to generate good luck by making wishes (vs. 26% of Pragmatists).
> 24% feel that they don’t deserve any of the success they have achieved, which is a common marker of Impostor Syndrome (vs. 3% of Pragmatists).
> 37% avoid challenges (vs. 17% of Pragmatists).
> 39% dislike change and will avoid it whenever possible (vs. 19% of Pragmatists).

> When stressed, 42% of the Luckless group engage in bad habits such as over-eating, smoking, drinking, or gambling. A whopping 77% resort to escapism – e.g., losing themselves in books, video games, etc. (compared to 20% and 50% of Pragmatists, respectively).
> 62% have either seen a therapist in the last two years or would like to start therapy (vs. 49% of Pragmatists – most likely due to the aftermath of the COVID pandemic in both cases).
> 50% are suicidal (vs. 23% of Pragmatists).
> 33% have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder (vs. 16% of Pragmatists).
> 24% have been diagnosed with a mood disorder, such as Major Depression or Bipolar (vs. 13% of Pragmatists).
> 32% have poor eating habits (vs. 8% of Pragmatists).
> 19% have taken more than five sick days in the last year due to illness (vs. 8% of Pragmatists).
> 21% have taken more than five sick days in the last year due to stress (vs. 7% of Pragmatists).

“If your life is a chaotic struggle, it’s easier to believe that some sinister shadow force is at play. To some degree it allows you to make sense of your circumstances and to place blame on something or someone other than yourself,” explains Dr. Ilona Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “Don’t fall for it. This isn’t to say that everything bad that happens to you is really your fault, but it also doesn’t mean that you are the universe’s puppet. Both groups in our study included people who had suffered a trauma. For example, 46% of the Luckless and 41% of the Pragmatists were victims of verbal abuse; 37% of the former and 35% of the latter had been bullied at some point in their lives. Yet the Pragmatists seem to have come out of their ordeals with fewer negative effects. They also outscored the Luckless by 24 points on a measure of happiness – 77 vs. 53.”

“Bad luck isn’t real, but if you believe that you are condemned to a life of unhappiness, you essentially bring about your own downfall…not because you are a victim of misfortune, but because you are conceding to your ‘fate’ rather than taking active steps to change things. And you can change things for the better. If you’re going to believe in anything, believe that you deserve love, happiness, and success.”

Are you mentally tough? Check out the Hardiness Test at

Professional users, such as HR managers, coaches, and therapists, can request a free demo for this or other assessments from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery:

To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook:

About PsychTests AIM Inc.
PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists and coaches, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see

Media Contact

Ilona Jerabek, PsychTests AIM Inc., 5147453189, [email protected]


SOURCE PsychTests AIM Inc.

Is belief in bad luck a harmless superstition, or can it cause significant psychological damage? - A new study explores the fear of misfortune WeeklyReviewer

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