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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.



Rowatt, W. C., & Kirkpatrick, L. A. (2002). Two dimensions of attachment to God and their relation to affect, religiosity, and personality constructs Vol. 41 (4), 637-652

This article addresses several limitations in the research on styles of attachment to God. Prior to this study, individual differences in attachment to God have been measured by a categorical self-report instrument. On this measure, participants select one of three descriptions that best portrays their beliefs about and relationships with God. Based on relative degrees of assent, such instruments attribute an attachment to God category to participants. However, these measures cannot assess how well the individual defining features of each category apply to participants. The reliability of categorical measures is also difficult to assess. Furthermore, correlations between attachment to God and measures of personality and affect could be attributed to such confounds as social desirability and co-varying dimensions of religiosity, which heretofore have not been empirically controlled.

In order to address the limitations inherent to the categorical measure, the authors developed a multi-item attachment to God instrument in which assent to descriptive statements is measured via seven-point Likert scales. Exploratory principal component, reliability, and linear structural relation analyses identified nine items as the most valid and reliable. Similar to adult attachment research, a principal component analysis revealed that attachment to God can be measured and conceptualized in terms of two underlying dimensions: avoidance and anxiety.

The authors examined correlations between attachment to God and various other variables, including adult attachment style, personality traits, loving God image, intrinsic religious orientation, and doctrinal orthodoxy. Adult attachment dimensions were only modestly correlated to attachment to God dimensions, indicating that attachment to God is an empirically distinct construct from general adult attachment style. As in adult attachment research, attachment to God dimensions correlated negatively with agreeableness and positively with neuroticism. A strong negative correlation resulted between the avoidance dimension of attachment to God and loving God images, intrinsic religiousness, and doctrinal orthodoxy. The anxious dimension was positively correlated with extrinsic religiousness.

Both attachment to God dimensions resulted in modest, negative correlations with social desirability. Thus impression management was factored into the study as a covariate. The authors conducted multiple regression analyses to determine whether the dimensions of attachment to God contributed unique variance to the prediction of personality and affective outcomes beyond that of correlated religiosity variables, while controlling for social desirability. The correlated religiosity variables included doctrinal orthodoxy, intrinsic religious orientation, and loving God images. The authors controlled for doctrinal orthodoxy because assent to belief in the love and availability of God may reflect religious tents as opposed to subjective experience. Empirically supported as one of the best measures of general religious commitment, intrinsic religiousness controlled for general religiosity. The authors also controlled for loving God images in order to determine whether it is belief about God's character or the security of a perceived relationship with God that predicts variation in personality and affect.

Multiple regression analyses revealed that anxious attachment to God was positively correlated with negative affect and neuroticism and inversely related to positive affect. Avoidant attachment emerged as a negative predictor of agreeableness. These same results occurred when controlling for adult attachment dimensions. Thus these results provide strong support that attachment to God dimensions are conceptually and empirically distinct aspects of both religiosity and attachment.


Rollins, W. G. (2002). The bible in psycho-spiritual perspective: News from the world of biblical scholarship Vol. 51 (2), 101-118

Psychological biblical criticism is a new, formal field of biblical scholarship that affirms historical critical interpretation of scripture but desires to add a psychological perspective on both the text and its readers. Psychological biblical criticism maintains that the psychological processes, conscious and unconscious, of the biblical authors, translators, interpreters, preachers, and of the personalities within scripture can often be discerned. Further, the author maintains that these psychological processes may be the most crucial determinants of how and what is remembered, recorded, interpreted, and translated into life. In this article, the author briefly outlines the history of psychological approaches to scripture, discusses Freud and Jung as forerunners of psychological biblical criticism, and describes new manners in which the text and its readers are viewed and approached. A more complete description of this information can be found in the authors book, Soul and Psyche: The Bible in Psychological Perspective.

While the term "psychology" was not coined until 1524, the author describes the tradition of reflection on the nature, habits, and destiny of the psyche/soul that began in the fourth century BC with Aristotle. The author also discusses the history of "biblical psychology," noting that it dates back to Justin Martyr and Tertullian. The author then chronicles the interactions between psychologists and psychological biblical scholars throughout ensuing centuries, discussing the estrangement of the fields in the early 20th century and their subsequent rapprochement in the 1960s.

While the author asserts that neither Freud nor Jung developed a comprehensive psychological hermeneutic, he discusses five concepts from their theories that are crucial to a psychological critical approach to scriptural study. First, Freud and Jung introduced the unconscious, with its personal, historical, and collective aspects, as an active contributor to all human enterprises. The personal unconscious is manifested in the biblical personalities, authors, and readers when repressed material becomes defensively transformed, such as through denial or sublimation. The historical unconscious denotes the influence cultural or racial memory plays in perpetuating cultic acts like sacrifice. For Jung, the collective unconscious is present in transcultural images, such as heroes.

A second concept, specific to Jungian theory, that informs psychological biblical criticism is the compensatory function the text plays in correcting individual and cultural psyches when they become unbalanced or lose their sense of purpose. Third, Freud and Jung modeled psychological examination of religious phenomena like glosslolalia. Fourth, the work of both theorists suggests the benefits of psychological analysis of biblical personalities, including character analyses, psychoanalytic formulations, and utilization of biblical personalities as models of individuation. A fifth manner of psychological biblical examination suggested by the work of Freud and Jung involves identifying the therapeutic and harmful effects that have resulted from interpretations of the bible.

According to the author, psychological biblical criticism requires a "re-visioning" of the text in five respects. First, studies of the origins of scripture include not only historical occurrences but also the psychic events that gave rise to the text and that will effect succeeding generations. Second, the power of the text is examined, including how humans are drawn to create and attribute value to scripture, the unconscious influences mediated through different genres, and the psychodynamics of biblical personalities and families played out in the text. Third, biblical interpretation is viewed as a product of psychic processes, requiring study of the historical and psychological lens through which interpreters read the text. Fourth, a psychological critical perspective highlights that biblical study not only includes retrospective examinations but also speculations about the effects scripture may produce within individuals and cultures. Finally, psychological biblical criticism redefines the telos of the scripture as therapeutic change of the nature and destiny of the soul.


Kaminer, D., Stein, D. J., Mbanga, I., & Zungu-Dirwayi, N. (2000). Forgiveness: Toward an integration of theoretical models Vol. 63 (4), 344357

While various models of forgiveness have been recently proposed in the psychological literature, the authors note that few attempts have been made to consolidate these contributions into an integrative model. The authors briefly review four categories of forgiveness models: typological models, task-stage models, theoretically-based models, and developmental models. Within these reviews, the authors highlight the models' limitations and contributions to the understanding of forgiveness. The authors then offer their three-stage model, which attempts to integrate the contributions of prior forgiveness theories while addressing their limitations.

Typological models of forgiveness distinguish between different types or degrees of forgiveness based on critical, differentiating features. The authors assert that typological models have proven empirically useful and have potential therapeutic utility, if the behavioral, cognitive, and affective signs of each type can be more clearly explicated. However, these descriptive models do not account for individual differences or explain the process of change within forgiveness.

Similarly, task-stage models are descriptive. They attempt to delineate the sequence of psychological processes within forgiveness for victims and/or the relationships between victims and offenders. Common elements include: recognizing the offence, deciding to forgive, and actively engaging in behavioral, cognitive, and affective forgiveness. Like typologies, task-stage models lack explanatory power. Also, progression through stages is viewed as universal, inhibiting task-stage models to account for individual variations in experiences of forgiveness.

Unlike typologies and task-stage models, models based on theories of personality and psychopathology explain the process of change within forgiveness and account for individual differences. Forgiveness models have been extrapolated from psychoanalytic, object relations, existential, personal construct, cognitive, and family systems theories. Yet these models tend to reduce forgiveness to solely an intrapsychic process, neglecting the influence of relational and/or contextual factors. Social cognitive-developmental theory, from which developmental forgiveness models emerge, has produced particular theoretical and empirical advancements in the understanding of forgiveness. Similar to Kohlberg's model of moral development, these models assert that individuals' developing cognitive capacities move them from egocentric perspectives to empathy and acceptance of others despite their failings. While theoretically robust, the authors suggest that developmental models may be too prescriptive. "Mature" forgiveness is defined as the progression from egocentric anger to compassion for offenders. The authors question whether pure positive emotion toward offenders is psychologically healthy. Further, these models fail to consider the emotional mechanisms of forgiveness.

As an alternative, the authors provide their three-stage, integrative model of forgiveness. The first stage accounts for individual and contextual factors influencing victims' motivation to choose forgiveness. Individual determinants include: personality, level of pathology, and cognitive-developmental level. Contextual factors are also considered, including: characteristics of the offense, the relationships between victims and offenders, cultural norms, and whether justice has been meted out. In the second stage, victims decide whether to forego or to engage in a typology of forgiveness. The type of forgiveness that victims choose determines the content of the third stage, the forgiveness tasks. Forgiveness tasks can be intrapsychic, interpersonal, cognitive, behavioral, and/or affective.

While forgiveness has been empirically shown to result in increased mental health, the authors note that the therapeutic effects of justice, whether retributive or restorative, have not been investigated. They encourage researchers to examine whether forgiveness is indeed more therapeutic than justice.


Garzon, F., Richards, J., Witherspoon, M., Garver, S., Wu, Z., Burkett, L., Reed, H., and Hall, L. (2002).

Forgiveness in community cultural contexts: Applications in therapy and opportunities for expanded professional roles Vol. 21 (4), 349-356

The authors note that most psychotherapeutic forgiveness interventions remain nonreligious. While nonreligious forgiveness protocols are necessary in order to provide a flexible framework for treating a broad clinical population, the authors indicate that this de-emphasis on spirituality is contrary to how forgiveness is practiced in most cultural contexts. The authors assert that, by foregoing examinations of multicultural forgiveness interventions, nonreligious clinical forgiveness models could be imposed on such groups and obscure their unique contributions. Through descriptions of specific religious and community forgiveness interventions, this article endeavors to stimulate thought in two areas: manners in which indigenous forgiveness techniques could contribute to treatment with religious clients and how clinical forgiveness models can best enhance indigenous forgiveness applications.

This article highlights three religio-cultural forgiveness applications: the "Sister, I'm Sorry" program, Promise Keepers, and the efforts of Pope John Paul II toward peace in the Middle East. Due to the high incidence of incarceration and unemployment among African American males, their male-female relationships have increased potential for poverty, abuse, and/or dissolution. In the "Sister, I'm Sorry" Program, African American males are encouraged to identify with the men in women's stories of loss and to apologize. Although not personally responsible, these men acknowledge that they share some responsibility due to their perpetuation of the status quo.

Promise Keepers is an evangelical Christian organization that challenges men to take responsibility for their contributions to familial and societal problems and to ask for forgiveness. The organization uses rituals, such as washing wives' feet and confessing generational racial sin, to promote forgiveness. Similar to Promise Keepers' ritual of confession of racial sin, Pope John Paul II spent several years seeking forgiveness from leaders of international religious groups for sins historically perpetrated by the Catholic Church. Through such meetings, the Pope also endeavored to begin collaborating with these religious leaders to address areas of mutual concern, such as ending terrorism.

In terms of therapeutic applications, the authors note that two of the indigenous forgiveness interventions used corporate identification to heighten empathy and responsibility. The authors indicate that this concept does not logically cohere with current clinical forgiveness models and challenges clinicians to consider whether the utility of this principle should be employed regardless of its lack of consistency with clinical conceptualizations. The authors also highlight that the rituals within clinical forgiveness models do not utilize religious resources. As exemplified by Promise Keepers, forgiveness therapy could be enhanced through collaborating with religious clients in order to develop religiously-oriented forgiveness rituals. Finally, the authors note the influence religious leaders have in motivating others to begin the forgiveness process and to tailor forgiveness interventions to individuals' spiritual resources.

With regard to clinical enhancement of indigenous forgiveness techniques, the authors encourage clinicians to broaden their paradigm of therapeutic treatment to include community organizational consultation.


Elliot, A. J. (2003). Inspiration as a psychological construct. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology 84(4),871-889.

Gorday, P. J. (2000). The self psychology of Heinz Kohut: What's it all about theologically? Pastoral Psychology 48(6), 445-467.

Karremans, J. C. (2003). When forgiving enhances psychological well-being: The role of interpersonal commitment. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology 84(5), 1011-1026.

Keltner, D. (2003). Approaching awe, a moral, spiritual, and aesthetic emotion. Cognition & Emotions 17(2), 297-314.

Kendler, K. S. Dimensions of religiosity and their relationship to lifetime psychiatric substance use disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry 160(3), 496-503.

McCullough, M. E. (2002). Transgression-related motivational dispositions: Personality substrates of forgiveness and their links to the Big Five. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin 28(11), 1556-1573.

Mullet, E. (2003). Religious involvement and the forgiving personality. Journal of Personality 71(1), 1-19.

Myers, J. E. (2003). Integrating spirituality into counselor preparation: A developmental, wellness approach. Counseling & Values 47(2), 142-155.

Powell, L. H. (2003). Religion and spirituality: Linkages to physical health. American Psychologist 58(1), 36-52.

Wendel, R. (2003). Live religion and family therapy: What does spirituality have to do with it? Family Process 42(1), 165-179.
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Publication:Journal of Psychology and Theology
Date:Sep 22, 2003
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