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Psychology of Religion and Spirituality - Vol 9, Iss 2

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Psychology of Religion and Spirituality Official Journal of APA Division 36 (Psychology of Religion). Psychology of Religion and Spirituality publishes peer-reviewed, original articles related to the psychological aspects of religion and spirituality. The journal also publishes articles employing experimental and correlational methods, qualitative analyses, and critical reviews of the literature.
Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association
  • Theological beliefs about suffering and interactions with the divine.
    This study situated theologically based beliefs about suffering as “mid-level” variables within a multilevel framework of ways in which people relate to the Divine. We examined whether beliefs about suffering associated with global ways of relating to the Divine (e.g., religiousness, general views of God) and context-specific ways of relating to the Divine (e.g., perceptions, feelings, and behaviors related to God in the context of a specific religious/spiritual struggle). In a large sample of undergraduates (N = 2,920), across the global and context-specific levels, beliefs that suffering is part of God’s benevolent plan were related to more favorable perceived interactions with God, whereas beliefs ascribing a nonbenevolent role to God were related to less favorable interactions with God. Longitudinal analyses revealed that beliefs about suffering predicted changes in global variables over 1 year. We discuss how our proposed multilevel framework helps to integrate findings concerning perceived interaction with the Divine. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Religious support mediates the racial microaggressions–mental health relation among Christian ethnic minority students.
    The author examined the mediating role of perceived support from religious sources (i.e., religious support; Fiala, Bjorck, & Gorsuch, 2002) in the inverse relation between racial microaggressions and well-being in a sample of Christian ethnic minority students. A modified version of the support deterioration model (Barrera, 1986) was used as the conceptual framework. It was hypothesized that the nature of the indirect effect would be (a) an inverse relation between racial microaggressions and religious support, and (b) a positive relation between religious support and well-being. Religious commitment was entered as a covariate. African American, Asian American, and Hispanic college students (N = 144) completed an online survey. The study design was cross-sectional. A significant indirect effect of racial microaggressions on psychological well-being through congregational support was found, with findings pointing to the empirical utility of religious support in explaining the racial microaggressions-mental health link among ethnic minority samples. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Is religious fundamentalism a dimensional or a categorical phenomenon? A taxometric analysis in two samples of youth from Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
    To examine the latent status of religious fundamentalism, we analyzed 2 large samples of Muslim youth from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as gathered in the Youth, Emotional Energy, and Political Violence Survey. We sought to answer the following question: Is fundamentalism a dimensional or a categorical phenomenon? Equivalently, do fundamentalists represent an extreme of religious belief, or do they constitute their own category, differing from nonfundamentalists? Using taxometric methods, we found that religious fundamentalism seems to encompass differences in kind rather than degree. Hence, the results suggest that religious fundamentalists constitute their own qualitatively different category. These findings have important practical and theoretical implications regarding causality, labeling, and assessment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Muslim Daily Religiosity Assessment Scale (MUDRAS): A new instrument for Muslim religiosity research and practice.
    Although there are many scales for measuring Muslims’ religiosity, a literature search indicated that there are limited references directed toward assessing Muslims’ daily actions and behaviors in accordance with the teachings and practice of Islam. Our goal in the present study is to fill this gap. To achieve this goal, 3 stages of instrument development (item generation, scale development, and instrument testing) were undertaken through 2 studies. The results of the exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis confirmed the existence of 3 dimensions in the proposed measurement instrument (which I referred to as Muslim Daily Religiosity Assessment Scale, MUDRAS); the dimensions are sinful acts, recommended acts, and engaging in bodily worship. The combined findings from the 2 studies reported here provide initial evidence that MUDRAS exhibits excellent psychometric properties. Last, the usefulness of MUDRAS for individual Muslims, counselors, clinically trained clergymen, and implications for psychological research is discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Surrendering to god’s providence: A three-part study on providence-focused therapy for recurrent worry (PFT-RW).
    The authors investigated an integrative, culturally sensitive model of worry via 3 studies. In the first study, we empirically examined our proposed model for Christian adults, developed by combining a Jesuit contemplative writing on surrendering to divine providence, the psychology of religion literature, and intolerance of uncertainty (IU) research, among Christian college students at a Christian-affiliated university (N = 209). With the second study, the authors attempted to replicate these findings with a community sample of Christian churchgoers (N = 99). For the last study, we presented pilot research on providence-focused therapy for recurrent worry (PFT-RW), drawing from the aforementioned empirical model as the foundation for an 8-week group approach for self-described chronic worriers (N = 13), with contemplative prayer as the primary intervention. Consistent with the proposed hypotheses, adequate support was found for both an overall model fit and IU as a mediating variable linking surrender and worry, as revealed by path analyses in the first 2 studies. Moreover, within the pilot study, medium to large effect sizes emerged pre- to posttreatment for chronic worriers among all of the outcome variables, suggesting PFT-RW may hold promise as a culturally sensitive intervention for recurrent worry among Christian adults. Current limitations with generalizability are discussed, as are recommendations for future research so as to strengthen these preliminary findings and apply them to a wider range of denominations within the Christian tradition. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Relational spirituality: An attachment-based model of spiritual development and psychological well-being.
    Although religion and spirituality typically incorporate significant affective and relational components, only recently have these components been examined both systematically and empirically. In the present study, the expanding literature on attachment was explored to create a theoretical model that emphasizes principles from “relational spirituality” (Hall, 2004), proposing that attachment variables positively predict both spiritual and psychological outcomes and that spiritual outcomes, in turn, positively predict psychological outcomes. The present model also suggests that spiritual engagement variables moderate these relationships. Results based on structural equation modeling provided evidence that our model demonstrated good fit. Additionally, some of the aforementioned relationships were strengthened in those who were more spiritually engaged, while at times attachment appeared to be a more robust predictor for those who were less spiritually engaged. These results are discussed along with encouragement and implications for further research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Recontextualizing mindfulness: Theravada Buddhist perspectives on the ethical and spiritual dimensions of awareness.
    Although mindfulness has been embraced by the West, this has mostly been a secular “decontextualized” form of mindfulness, disembedded from its original Buddhist nexus of beliefs/practices. This has arguably deprived the practice of its potential to effect more radical psychospiritual development. This article therefore argues for the “recontextualization” of mindfulness, drawing explicitly on Buddhist teachings to enhance our appreciation of it, and offers a contribution to such recontextualization. It presents a novel (in the context of Western psychology) theoretical model of mindfulness, drawing on concepts in Theravada Buddhist literature. In particular, it suggests that Buddhism identifies 3 main “forms” of mindfulness: sati (awareness of the present moment), appamada (awareness suffused with ethical care), and sampajañña (awareness suffused with a sense of spiritual development). Although, currently, only sati has been recognized in the West, we have much to gain from also recognizing the potential ethical and spiritual dimensions of mindfulness. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • In search of the psychological antecedents and consequences of Christian conversion: A three-year prospective study.
    Religious conversion is often an overwhelming experience. Although self-reports by some converts about life before and after conversion often contain vivid descriptions of the type and extent of changes, few rigorous empirical studies have documented them. This 3-year longitudinal prospective study aimed to understand the precursors of conversion, and whether this event would result in psychological changes. A logistic regression on 455 non-Christian Chinese (of whom 46 later became Christian converts) showed that neither baseline personality, personal values, social axioms, nor psychological symptoms predicted whether one would be converted during the next three years. However, people who thought that there is one and only one true religion were more likely than others to be converted. We further formed a matched sample of 92 individuals who had been Christians throughout the study, and a matched sample of 92 nonbelievers who remained so throughout the study. Comparison between measures taken at the baseline and end of the study period showed that converted people were transformed not in personality but in symptoms of stress and anxiety, as well as several personal values. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Factorial structure and measurement invariance of the Four Basic Dimensions of Religiousness Scale among Mexican males and females.
    The Four Basic Dimensions of Religiousness Scale (4-BDRS) is a newly developed instrument based on 4 components of religion: believing (beliefs relative to external transcendence), bonding (rituals and emotions), behaving (adherence to norms and moral arguments), and belonging (community and social group cohesion; Saroglou, 2011). This paper provides empirical evidence to support the factorial structure and measurement invariance assumptions of 4-BDRS among 1,982 adults (mean age of 29.27 years) from Mexico, a country among the top 10 nations in the world for religious involvement. The fit indices indicate similar patterns and strengths in factor loadings, means, and intercepts across males and females. Gender comparisons showed that females score significantly higher on all 4 religiousness dimensions than males. We conclude that the 4-BDRS is a brief and valid measure of religiousness that is suitable for use in Mexican samples. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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