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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.

JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY AND CHRISTIANITY

Yangarber-Hicks, N. (2004).

Recovery model: A christian appraisal

Vol. 23 (1), 31-39.

The recovery model has recently been promoted in the public mental health services. The term recovery, in this context, refers to individuals with severe mental illnesses trying to find new meaning and purpose in life despite their diagnostic symptoms. The birth of the recovery model occurred in the 1980s from narratives written by people with severe mental illnesses describing their experiences of recovery and also from empirical research showing the reality of positive outcomes in this population. However, there is still not much research literature on the use and long term effectiveness of the recovery model in clinical practice. In this article, the author discusses parallels between recovery from mental illness and sanctification and other Christian concepts, along with inconsistencies between this model and faith.

Recovery has been defined as a process of transformation, adaptation, and self-discovery involving changes in attitude, values, and goals toward oneself and one's illness. Additionally, recovery does not refer to an end product, a linear process, or an absence of pain. Rather, it is a systematic approach that considers the impact of biological, psychological, social, and spiritual factors on the functioning of individuals with severe mental illnesses. This idea of recovery is in contrast to the traditional view of serious psychopathology as a chronic and incurable condition.

In the last decade, there have been a number of variables associated with recovery from severe mental illness. Participation in meaningful activities, reintegration into societal roles, empowerment, spirituality, presence of satisfying relationships, and financial stability have all been identified as some of the critical components that facilitate the process of recovery.

The author promotes that this holistic view of persons emphasized by the recovery model is consistent with the biblical understanding of humans as created in God's image. Both Christian psychology and the recovery model do not agree with reductionistic and simplistic attempts to understand the nature of persons. For example, believers are encouraged toward sanctification in order to pursue a deeper transformation of their whole being, including cognition, behavior, and affect. In Christian tradition, spiritual growth is viewed as a lifelong process, often filled with challenges and setbacks, just as recovery from mental illness.

JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

Richeson, J. A., & Nussbaum, R.J. (2004).

The impact of multiculturalism versus color-blindness on racial bias

Vol. 40, 417-423

There have been two different approaches to the reduction of interracial tension proposed by social psychologists. One approach, called color-blindness, proposes that racial categories do not matter and should not be considered when making decisions about hiring and school admissions. Therefore, social categories should be disregarded and everyone should be treated as an individual. The second approach, called multiculturalism, proposes that group differences should be acknowledged and even celebrated. Therefore, ignoring ethnicity undermines non-white cultural heritages and is detrimental to the well being of ethnic minorities. Color blindness has been the dominant perspective promoted by social psychology until recently. Based on current research, social psychologists are beginning to consider the potential positive consequences of taking a more multicultural approach to intergroup relations. The present study is one of these.

The authors conducted a research study examining the influence of different interethnic ideologies on automatic and explicit forms of racial prejudice. Fifty-two white American college students (30 female) were exposed to a message advocating either a color blind or multicultural ideological approach in order to attempt to reduce interethnic tension. Then these students completed racial attitude measures and reaction time measures of automatic evaluations of racial groups.

The authors had two predicting hypotheses. The first hypothesis was that, consistent with previous research, they expected individuals to have more negative attitudes regarding blacks than attitudes regarding whites. Their second hypothesis predicted that this pro-white bias would be greater for participants exposed to the color blind ideology than those participants exposed to the multicultural ideology.

Results of the study found that the color blind perspective generated greater racial bias than the multicultural perspective, both explicitly and on the more unobtrusive reaction time measure. The findings of this study add to the previous research advocating a multicultural model of intergroup relations as the more promising route to interracial harmony.

The authors also discuss some limitations of their study. For example, the study did not include a control group who did not receive an intervention. Another limitation was that the participant sample came from a single New England college, therefore the results had problematic external validity. The authors suggest that future research should also examine the impact of these ideological prompts on ethnic minorities, as they will be important in attaining true interracial harmony, rather than solely reducing the negative racial attitudes of whites.

THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF FAMILY THERAPY

Woody, R. H. (2004).

Modern family interventions

Vol. 32, 353-357

This article advocates that interventions in family therapy must be concurrent with the modern era because each member in the family is subjected to new socio-environmental pressures. Many current societal changes directly and/or indirectly effect the functioning of today's families. The author lists specific socio-environmental pressures such as the global economy, the increase in governmental regulations, the power of the mass media and internet, the reign of crime and terror, employment insecurity, readily obtained bankruptcy, easy dissolution of marriage, blended families, and alternative lifestyles. Therefore, the author offers ten guidelines for the family therapist's adaptation of clinical practices that are appropriate for the modern era.

First, set aside allegiances to theories and techniques that, although acceptable in the past, have not been justified by behavioral science. Second, recognize that the client is the consumer of professional services offered as part of the health care industry, and the transaction is a business arrangement. Third, do not applaud the past; accept that the present is the stage upon which the family must be helped to perform. Fourth, be aware that the client's personal perferences are greatly influenced by external sources, which constitute a filter through which all intervention efforts, by therapist and client alike, must pass. Fifth, become embedded in the community, making ready use of resources to facilitate family interventions. Sixth, bring together all reasonably appropriate sources of influence (e.g., the extended family), thereby maximizing resources. Seventh, continually survey professional publications and engage in continuing education for better understanding of the current status of intervention options and identifying new alternatives for family interventions. Eighth, be action oriented, attempting to motivate the client to make behavioral changes that will impact the family system. Ninth, require that any intervention actually accomplish a benefit (e.g., noncompliance by the client may necessitate termination). Tenth, do not provide an intervention beyond a specific short-term goal, that is, long-term objectives will likely be best obtained through periodic, not continuous, interventions.

The author acknowledges that there is not a discrete formula for modern practice of family interventions. However, pondering these guidelines will help the family therapist provide appropriate modern era family therapy.

CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY REVIEW

Shreve-Neiger, A. K. & Edelstein, B. A. (2004).

Religion and anxiety: A critical review of the literature

Vol. 24, 379-397

Religion's effects on mental health have been debated for years, yet only in the last half of the century have these theories been empirically

tested. Several mental health issues have been linked to religion, but anxiety, which is one of the most prevalent and debilitating mental health problems, has been largely ignored. This paper categorizes and critically reviews the current literature on religion and anxiety. The authors summarized research on articles linking decreased anxiety to religion, increased anxiety to religion, and those finding no relation between anxiety and religiosity.

The lack of a universally accepted definition of religion has been problematic for the field. Many studies only used one aspect of religion such as church attendance or frequency of prayer, while others were so broad as to include subjective beliefs about people's perceived relationship to God. One researcher conceptualized religion as having three major components: organizational religiosity, subjective religiosity, and religious beliefs. Also, there are many other measures being developed that tap into the multiple aspects of religion.

The debate about the relationship between religion and psychopathology still remains today. In the 1960s, there were several empirical studies that found evidence of a positive correlation between the two constructs. But at the same time, there were other studies published that found the opposite to be true. The recent lack of research could be due to the fact of this ongoing debate.

After critically reviewing many empirical studies on the relationship between anxiety and religion, the authors often found contradictory findings. Therefore, the authors address the methodological and conceptual weaknesses in the research that may have contributed to those findings. A number of conclusions drawn from the reviewed studies were unfounded because the experimenters inferred causation from correlation, lacked standardized measures, had poor sampling procedures, failed to control for threats to validity, had very limited assessment of anxiety, had experimenter bias, and had poor operationalization of religious constructs. Overall, findings from several studies suggest that while overt interpersonal behaviors may be linked to decreased anxiety, other more covert and personal behaviors may be linked to increased anxiety.

The authors encourage future research on anxiety and religion that is empirically and conceptually sound and has an eye for the shortcomings of previous research. Preliminary evidence suggests that anxiety and religion are related in some ways. The authors conclude that it is likely that some religious aspects are positively related to anxiety while others are not, and the results vary according to which is assessed.

Further readings:

Bishop, S., Lau, M., Shapiro, S., Carlson, L., Anderson, N., Carmody, J., Segal, Z., Abbey, S., Speca, M., Velting, D., & Devins, G. (2004). Mindfulness: A proposed operational definition. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 11 (3), 230-241.

Freeman, S. J., Engels, D. W., & Altekruse, M. K. (2004). Spirituality and the events of September 11: A preliminary study, Counseling and Values, 48 (3), 174-182.

Krijn, M., Emmelkamp, P., Olafson, R., & Biemond, R. (2004). Virtual reality exposure therapy of anxiety disorders: A review. Clinical Psychology Review, 24 (3), 259-282.

Morrow, S. L. & Bechstead, A. L. (2004). Conversion therapies for same-sex attracted clients in religious conflict. The Counseling Psychologist, 32 (5), 641-650.

Swan, S., & Andrews, B. (2003). The relationship between shame, eating disorders and disclosure in treatment. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 42 (4), 367-378.
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Title Annotation:Clinical Psychology Review; Journal of Experimental Social Psychology; Journal pf Psychology and Christianity; The American Journal of Family Therapy
Publication:Journal of Psychology and Theology
Article Type:Periodical Review
Date:Dec 22, 2004
Words:1819
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