Printer Friendly

Journal File.

This section of the Journal attempts to keep readers informed of current resources of an integrative nature or those related to the general field of the psychology of religion appearing in other professional journals. A wide range of psychological and theological journals are surveyed regularly in search of such resources. The editor of the Journal File welcomes correspondence from readers concerning relevant theoretical or research articles in domestic or foreign journals which contribute directly or indirectly to the task and process of integration and to an understanding of the psychology of religion.


Silton, N.R., Flannelly, K.J., Galek, K., & Ellison, C.G.

Beliefs about God and mental health among American Adults.

Vol. 49, 246-261 (2010)

Among those who believe in God, there are many ways in which individuals differ in how they perceive God. Some see God as an authoritative God, a benevolent God, and a critical God. Still others view God as a disengaged deistic God, which is a God that created the world, yet is not directly involved in worldly matters. These beliefs about God have been found to impact mental health in Americans, just as other cognitive beliefs about the world can impact mental health. Previous studies have shown that belief in a loving, supportive, and caring God is associated with greater life satisfaction and lower levels of depression and anxiety. Belief in a punishing, punitive God are associated with greater levels of anxiety, depression, paranoia, social anxiety, and other psychological problems. These authors wanted to investigate whether different beliefs in God would be associated with specific psychiatric symptoms.

Participants (N = 1426) were recruited through a random digit dialing method where those who were interested would be sent a survey questionnaire to fill out and return. Researchers measured general anxiety, social anxiety, paranoia, obsession and compulsion. Each symptom was measured with three items taken from existing surveys. Participants were also asked to rank how well certain words described God as they see him. From these responses they calculated three beliefs in God: punitive (i.e., punishing and wrathful), deistic (i.e., absolute and just) and benevolent (i.e., critical and severe reverse scored). Age, gender, race, education, marital status and religiousness--church attendance and belief in God, were also measured to serve as control variables.

Their first hypothesis was supported in that belief in a benevolent God had a significant relationship with four of the five classes of psychiatric symptoms. The results also provide support for their second hypothesis in that belief in a punitive God had a significantly pernicious association with the same four dependent variables. There was no significant association between belief in a deistic God and any of the five psychiatric symptoms. Significant associations were found between compulsion and belief in a benevolent God and a punitive God, and z tests found no significant differences in the strength of associations of either of these beliefs with obsession or compulsion.

These findings align well with other research previously mentioned stating that belief in a loving God is good for mental health. The authors discuss the idea that these findings should be viewed in the same light as that of cognitive theorists who have postulated that negative views of the world, and in this case God, lead to an increase in psychiatric symptoms. No association between compulsions and beliefs in God indicate that maybe beliefs can affect obsessions but not the action component of compulsions. In conclusion, the authors urge others to investigate beliefs in God in light of other types of theories, such as Attachment Theory. More research in this area will help to provide a greater understanding of how people conceptualize God.


Ellis, L., Wahab, E.A., & Ratnasingan, M.

Religiosity and fear of death: a three-nation comparison.

Vol. 16, 179-199 (2013)

Many individuals fear death. Terror management theory posits that people have certain religious world-views in order to help them cope with fear of the imminent death that they will one day face. However, findings connecting religiosity to fear of death are inconsistent. One reason for the variability in results could be that there is a curvilinear relationship between religiosity and fear of death where the non-religious and highly religious have a low amount of fear and the people in between have more fear. Other confounding variables are gender and culture. Ellis, Wahab, & Ratnasingan sought to examine the relationships between religion and fear of death while taking into account gender, culture and religion. They hypothesized that people of faith would have less fear, but also wanted to investigate the possibility of any existence of a curvilinear relationship.

Participants were college students in Malaysia (N = 2394), Turkey (N = 265), and the United States (N = 1291). Religiosity was measured with a survey of seven subcategories of religiosity: belief in god (supreme being), belief in immortality (life after death), importance of religion to your daily life, religious fundamentalism, obey the teachings of a specific religion, active in religious observances, and religious strictness of parents while growing up. They also asked participants to rate their fear of death on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 10 (the most degree possible).

They found that those who were most religious had more fear than those who were relatively nonreligious, regardless of any specific religion with which they may have been affiliated. The relationship between religiosity and fear of death were strongest and most evident in Malaysia. In the United States, only one of the correlations was statistically significant for females, while all but one of them were significant for males. There seems to be no greater tendency for males or females to exhibit associations between religiosity and fear of death except in the United States, where males seem to have a greater fear of death than females. There does not seem to be evidence of a curvilinear relationship. However, in the U.S. there does seem to be greater fear in both the somewhat and very religious individuals than the non-religious.

Results from this study show that there is a positive relationship between religion and fear of death. The authors offer a theory to provide a possible explanation called death apprehension theory. In general, this theory takes into consideration one's level of pain, beliefs in God, how much they obey the teachings they believe in, and level of divine forgiveness. They go on to say that religious people could be more afraid of death because they may have a hard time believing that they are worthy of immortality or going to heaven. A discussion on how this theory explains how this differs by age, gender, and culture is included. A main limitation of this study was that the measure of fear of death was one item.


Haber, J.R., Grant, J.D., Jacob, T., Koenig, L.B., & Heath, A.

Alcohol milestones, risk factors, and religion/spirituality in young adult women.

Vol. 73,34-43, (2012)

Religion and spirituality (R/S) factors have been significantly associated with drug use and drinking behaviors; most research has shown an inverse relationship. There is still much unknown about the relationships between the different aspects of R/S and drinking risk behavior (i.e., drinking behaviors leading to alcoholism). R/S and drinking behaviors are also multidimensional, which makes clarifying existing relationships difficult. Authors sought to examine the relationships among nine R/S variables, eight known alcoholism risk factors (i.e., two subtypes and models of alcoholism etiology), and five alcohol use milestones (i.e., stages in the course of drinking from the initial drink to alcohol dependence).

Participants (N = 4,002) consisted of a large portion (87%) of the female twins in Missouri born between 1975 and 1987. However, the twin component of the data was not used for the purposes of this study. They targeted adolescent/young female twins between the ages of 13 to 19. After interviewing them and their parents, participants were contacted again 5 years later to complete a follow up. R/S variables included religious motivation-devotion, religious attendance, existential well-being, religious rules against any alcohol use, and raised with a religious affiliation. Risk factors were comorbid psychiatric diagnoses commonly linked to alcohol outcomes, as well as stressful life events during childhood, such as parental divorce. Alcohol milestones were measured by asking participants whether or not they had ever had a drink, ever intoxicated, ever a regular drinker, ever a heavy user, and ever alcohol dependent.

First, they used univariate analyses to examine the relationships between the risk factors and alcohol milestones. They found that endorsement on any of the risk factors was significantly associated with all five alcohol milestones. These analyses also showed that higher scores on motivation--devotion, attendance, and existential well-being were associated with lower milestone prevalence rates. R/S variables were also significantly associated with all eight risk factors. They used logistic regression to examine religion as a mediator or moderator between risk factors and alcohol milestones, and found that neither the mediation nor the moderation was statistically significant.

Although no mediation or moderation exist, R/S is an important factor that plays a significant role in the lives of individuals who drink alcohol. For the most part, R/S seems to be a protective factor for these individuals. It is important to note that gender differences have been found with risk factors and R/S factors. Age differences also exist. This study only examined risk factors in teenage girls, and findings may differ in a sample that is more generalizable to the population. In addition, cross-sectional data does not show causality.


Konopack, J. F., & McAuley, E.

Efficacy-mediated effects of spirituality and physical activity on quality of life: A path analysis.

Vol. 12, 1-6, (2012)

Physical activity has been established as a health behavior that leads to better quality of life, particularly among older adults. Spirituality may also play an important role in determining quality of life for many individuals. The authors used path analysis to test a model in which physical activity, spirituality, and social support were hypothesized to influence global quality of life in paths mediated by self-efficacy and health status.

Cross-sectional data were collected from a sample of 215 adults (male, n = 51; female, n = 164) over the age of 50 (Mage = 66.55 years). They used the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) to measure quality of life, which has been used in studies of exercise in older adults. A short form survey of health status was used to measure physical and mental health. Lifestyle physical activity self-efficacy and self-care self-efficacy were also measure by two different scales. To measure religion and spirituality, researchers asked, "To what extent do you consider yourself a religious person?" And the same for spirituality. Physical activity data were collected using the Actigraph accelerometer, which measures physical activity level accurately during daily activities and exercise.

The analysis resulted in a model that provided acceptable fit to the data ([x.sup.2] = 33.10, df = 16, p < .01; RMSEA = .07; SRMR = .05; CFI = .94). Results suggest that physical activity and spirituality are complementary determinants of quality of life, with their strongest influences on physical and mental health status, respectively.

Results further suggest that spirituality may influence health and well-being via an efficacy-mediated path, with strongest effects on mental health status. These results suggest that those who are more spiritual and physically active report greater quality of life, and the effects of these factors on quality of life may be partially mediated by perceptions of self-efficacy.


O'Donnell, Kelly S.

Global mental health: A resource primer for exploring the domain.

Vol. 1, 191-205, (2012)

Global mental health (GMH) is a growing domain of research, advocacy, and practice. Its focus is on improving wellbeing and mental health equity. One in four humans will experience a serious mental, neurological, or substance abuse condition in their lifetime. The world's poor are especially burdened, having the least access to care and plagued by social stigma and discrimination. The purpose of this article is to provide resources for the integration of mental health into our personal and global agendas for human wellbeing.

Six "resource areas' are explored with an emphasis on the last two decades: organizations, publications, conferences, training, human rights, and the humanitarian sector. The author gives a detailed breakdown of different resources that fit into each research area. The Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse-World Health Organization (WHO-MH) is an organization that is committed to improving services for mental health especially in low- and middle-income countries. They also conduct research projects in order to influence policy makers, advocates, and practitioners. The International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS), Movement for Global Mental Health (MGMH), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Office of International Affairs (OIA), APA, and the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) are all organizations that are seeking to contribute to the decline of poor mental health around the world.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV-TR and other guides for psychotherapists around the world are publications that have also helped in the improvement of GMH. The World Health Organization and other organizations previously mentioned have been vital in the disbursement of many of these publications. Many associations central to GMH keep current descriptions of conferences, which often include abstracts or papers, on their websites. Some examples of this are the International Association of Applied Psychology, International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, International Council of Psychologists, Movement for Global Mental Health, World Mental Health Day, and others.

There are also resources that provide training in GMH issues, such as Mental Health Law and Human Rights course and Work-Study Internationally. The Mental Health Law and Human Rights course is a yearlong course that combines mental health law and human rights. International work-study is a great experience that can help an individual gain cultural awareness and sensitivity that can complement other coursework in GMH issues. The article includes many resources than the ones listed here and is a great starting point for anyone interested in global mental health. The author encourages readers to get involved somehow in order to continue the movement forward because there is still much work to be done.

Further Reading

Brady, M. J., Peterman, A. H., Fitchett, G., Mo, M., & Cella, D. (1999). A case for including spirituality in quality of life measurement in oncology. Psycho-Oncology, 8 (5), 417-428.

Brambilla, M., Manzi, C., Regalia, C., & Verkuyten, M. (2013). Religiosity and Prejudice: Different Patterns for Two Types of Religious Internalization. The Journal of Social Psychology (just-accepted).

Jong, J., Bluemke, M., & Halberstadt, J. (2013). Fear of Death and Supernatural Beliefs: Developing a New Supernatural Belief Scale to Test the Relationship. European Journal of Personality, 1-12. doi: 10.1002/per.1898

King, M., Marston, L., McManus, S., Brugha, T., Meltzer, H., & Bebbington, P. (2013). Religion, spirituality and mental health: results from a national study of English households. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 202 (1), 68-73.

McCormick, D. W. (2013). The Future of Scholarship in Management, Spirituality, and Religion: Diversity and the Creative Nexus Handbook of Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace (pp. 717-722): Springer.

Nieuwsma, J. A., Rhodes, J. E., Jackson, G. L., Cantrell, W. C., Lane, M. E., Bates, M. J., ... Drescher, K. D. (2013). Chaplaincy and Mental Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, 19 (1), 3-21.

Pargament, K. I., & Lomax, J. W. (2013). Understanding and addressing religion among people with mental illness. World Psychiatry, 12 (1), 26-32.

Stanley, D. M., Cumming, J., Standage, M., & Duda, J. L. (2012). Images of exercising: Exploring the links between exercise imagery use, autonomous and controlled motivation to exercise, and exercise intention and behavior. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 13 (2), 133141.

Weingarten, C. P., Luborsky, L., Andrusyna, T., Diguer, L., & Descoteaux, J. (2013). Relationships between God and People: An Interpersonal Study of Scriptures. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion. doi: 10.1080/10508619.2013.772000
COPYRIGHT 2013 Rosemead School of Psychology
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2013 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:research on or those related to the psychology of religion
Publication:Journal of Psychology and Theology
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2013
Previous Article:Spirituality and peer victimization in early adolescence: associations within a Christian school context.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters