Previous work (inc. project 124/02) has shown that people reporting ‘out-of-body’ experiences (OBEs) score higher on measures of dissociation & body dissatisfaction, lower on a measure of physical self-presentation confidence, and differ in regards to the perceptual experience of their body than non-OBErs. These findings have been interpreted as supporting a dissociational theory of the OBE. However, that research did not distinguish between those who had had a spontaneous OBE, an OBE as part of a near-death experience (NDE), or other OBE forms. That was the focus of this project.
2,029 participants (1,067 M’s & 962 F’s, mean age 36.1, SD=13.4) completed an on-line survey exploring various aspects of bodily experience, such as: somatoform dissociation, physical selfefficacy & body satisfaction. 1,110 reported having an OBE (560 M’s, 550 F’s, mean age 38.6, SD=13.4).
Six types of OBE were observed: Spontaneous (n=355), meditatively induced (n=89), alcohol (n=6) & drug related (n=39), whilst physically threatened (n=32) & as part of an NDE (n=54). 535 (48.6%) OBErs reported having more than 1 of these types of OBE. Broad differences between OBErs & non-OBErs were investigated using Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) & Discriminate Function Analysis (DFA) statistics. MANOVA found sig. diff. for all DVs (analysed in two groups): Group 1: F(11, 1925) = 90.98, p<0.001, & Group 2: F(16, 1894) = 66.86, p<0.001.
DFA found one discriminant function which maximally separated the OBErs from non-OBErs: Group 1: chi-square (11) = 807.74, p<0.001. & Group 2: chi-square (16) = 851.22, p<0.001. The best predictors for distinguishing between OBErs & non-OBErs were the Experience, Belief and Ability sub-scales on the Anomalous Experience Inventory.