Archive: Research on Orthodox Jews
Psychology of Religion &
Psychology of Religion Books
Psychology of Religion Articles
Researchers Who Study the Psychology
of Religion Articles (peer reviewed empirical and theoretical
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Schnall et al., In Press
CITATION: Schnall, E., Wassertheil-Smoller, S., Swencionis, C., Zemon, V., Tinker, L., O'Sullivan, M.J., Van Horn, L.,
& Goodwin, M. (in press) The relationship between religion
and cardiovascular outcomes and all-cause mortality in the
women's health initiative observational study. Psychology
et al., In Press
ABSTRACT: Some studies suggest that religiosity may be related
to health outcomes. The current investigation, involving 92,395
Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study participants,
examined the prospective association of religious affiliation,
religious service attendance, and strength and comfort from
religion with subsequent cardiovascular outcomes and death.
Baseline characteristics and responses to religiosity questions
were collected at enrollment. Women were followed for an average
of 7.7 years and outcomes were judged by physician adjudicators.
Cox proportional regression models were run to obtain hazard
ratios (HR) of religiosity variables and coronary heart disease
(CHD) and death. After controlling for demographic, socioeconomic,
and prior health variables, self-report of religious affiliation,
frequent religious service attendance, and religious strength
and comfort were associated with reduced risk of all-cause
mortality [HR for religious affiliation 0.84; 95% confidence
interval (CI): 0.75–0.93] [HR for service attendance
0.80; CI: 0.73–0.87] [HR for strength and comfort 0.89;
CI: 0.82–0.98]. However, these religion-related variables
were not associated with reduced risk of CHD morbidity and
mortality. In fact, self-report of religiosity was associated
with increased risk of this outcome in some models. In conclusion,
although self-report measures of religiosity were not associated
with reduced risk of CHD morbidity and mortality, these measures
were associated with reduced risk of all-cause mortality.
McCullough & Willoughby, In Press
CITATION: McCullough, M.E., & Willoughby, B.L.B. (in press).
Religion, self-regulation, and self-control: Associations,
explanations and implications. Psychological Bulletin.
& Willoughby, In Press
ABSTRACT: Many of the links of religiousness with health,
well-being, and social behavior may be due to religion's influences
on self-control or self-regulation. Using Carver and Scheier's
(1998) theory of self-regulation as a framework for organizing
the empirical research, the authors review evidence relevant
to 6 propositions: (a) that religion can promote self-control;
(b) that religion influences how goals are selected, pursued,
and organized; (c) that religion facilitates self monitoring;
(d) that religion fosters the development of self-regulatory
strength; (e) that religion prescribes and fosters proficiency
in a suite of self-regulatory behaviors; and (f) that some
of religion's influences on health, well-being, and social
behavior may result from religion's influences on self-control
and self-regulation. The authors conclude with suggestions
for future research.
McGregor, Hirsh & Nash, 2009
CITATION: Inzlicht, M., McGregor, I., Hirsh J.B., & Nash,
K. (2009) Neural markers of religious conviction. Psychological
Science, 20(3), 385-392.
McGregor, Hirsh & Nash, 2009
ABSTRACT: Many people derive peace of mind and purpose in
life from their belief in God. For others, however, religion
provides unsatisfying answers. Are there brain differences
between believers and nonbelievers? Here we show that religious
conviction is marked by reduced reactivity in the anterior
cingulate cortex (ACC), a cortical system that is involved
in the experience of anxiety and is important for self-regulation.
In two studies, we recorded electroencephalographic neural
reactivity in the ACC as participants completed a Stroop task.
Results showed that stronger religious zeal and greater belief
in God were associated with less firing of the ACC in response
to error and with commission of fewer errors. These correlations
remained strong even after we controlled for personality and
cognitive ability. These results suggest that religious conviction
provides a framework for understanding and acting within one's
environment, thereby acting as a buffer against anxiety and
minimizing the experience of error.
Rasic, et al., 2009
CITATION: Rasic, D.T., Shay-Lee, B., Elias, B., Katz,
L.Y., Enns, M., & Sareen, J. (2009). Spirituality, religion
and suicidal behavior in a nationally representative sample. Journal of Affective Disorders, 114, 32–40
et al., 2009
ABSTRACT: Background: Studies show that religion and spirituality
are associated with decreased rates of mental illness. Some
studies show decreased rates of suicide in religious populations,
but the association between religion, spirituality and suicidal
behaviors in people with mental illness are understudied.
Few studies have examined the influence of social supports
in these relationships. Methods: Data were drawn fromthe Canadian
Community Health Survey 1.2. Logistic regression was used
to examine the relationship between spiritual values and religious
worship attendance with twelve-month suicidal ideation and
attempts. Regressions were adjusted for sociodemographic factors
and social supports. Interaction variables were then tested
to examine possible effect modification by presence of a mental
disorder. Results: Identifying oneself as spiritual was associated
with decreased odds of suicide attempt (adjusted odds ratio-1
[AOR-1]=0.65, CI: 0.44–0.96) but was not significant
after adjusting for social supports. Religious attendance
was associated with decreased odds of suicidal ideation (AOR-1=0.64,
95% CI: 0.53–0.77) but not after adjusting for social
supports. Religious attendance was associated with decreased
odds of suicide attempt and remained significant after adjusting
for social supports (AOR 2=0.38, 95% CI: 0.17–0.89).
No significant interaction effects were observed between any
of the tested mental disorders and religion, spirituality
and suicidal behavior. Limitations: This was a cross-sectional
survey and causality of relationships cannot be inferred.
Sherman, Plante, Simonton, Latif, & Anaissie, 2009
CITATION: Sherman, A.C., Plante, T.G., Simonton, S., Latif,
U., & Anaissie, E.J. (2009). Prospective study of religious
coping among patients undergoing autologous stem cell transplantation. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 32, 118-128.
Plante, Simonton, Latif, & Anaissie, 2009
ABSTRACT:Considerable attention has focused on relationships
between religious or spiritual coping and health outcomes
among cancer patients. However, few studies have differentiated
among discrete dimensions of religious coping, and there have
been surprisingly few prospective investigations. Negative
or conflicted aspects of religious coping, in particular,
represent a compelling area for investigation. This prospective
study examined negative religious coping, positive religious
coping, and general religious orientation among 94 myeloma
patients undergoing autologous stem cell transplantation.
Participants were assessed during stem cell collection, and
again in the immediate aftermath of transplantation, when
risks for morbidity are most elevated. Outcomes included Brief
Symptom Inventory anxiety and depression and Functional Assessment
of Cancer Therapy-Bone Marrow Transplant (FACT-BMI) scales.
Negative religious coping at baseline predicted worse post-transplant
anxiety, depression, emotional well-being, and transplant-related
concerns, after controlling for outcome scores at baseline
and other significant covariates. Post-transplant physical
well-being was predicted by an interaction between baseline
positive and negative religious coping. Results suggest that
religious struggle may contribute to adverse changes in health
outcomes for transplant patients, and highlight the importance
of negative or strained religious responses to illness.
CITATION: Masters, K.S. (2008). Mechanisms in the relation
between religion and health with emphasis on cardiovascular
reactivity to stress. Research in the Social Scientific
Study of Religion, 19, 91-115.
ABSTRACT: There is evidence of a relation between religiosity
and health. Some of the strongest support for this relationship
is found among markers of cardiovascular functioning and related
pathologies (e.g., primary hypertension). The specific behavioral,
social, and psychophysiological mechanisms that influence
this relationship have not been thoroughly tested in empirical
studies. A general model of mechanisms through which religiosity
and spirituality may influence health is presented followed
by specific elucidation of the possible role of cardiovascular
reactivity to stress as a link between religiosity and cardiovascular
functioning. Preliminary supportive empirical evidence for
this pathway is also provided. Investigators are encouraged
to use this model as a guide when conducting investigations
on religion and health and to specifically explore how religion
may influence psychological processes that in turn influence
cardiovascular functioning as a response to varying stressors.
Siev & Kushner, 2007
CITATION: Huppert, J.D., Siev, J. & Kushner, E.S. (2007).
When Religion and Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder Collide:
Treating Scrupulosity in Ultra-Orthodox Jews. Journal of
Clinical Psycholology, 63, 925–941.
Siev & Kushner, 2007
ABSTRACT: Evidence-based practice
suggests that clinicians should integrate the best available
research with clinical judgment and patient values. Treatment
of religious patients with scrupulosity provides a paradigmatic
example of such integration. The purpose of this study is
to describe potential adaptations to make exposure and response
prevention, the first-line treatment for obsessive–compulsive
disorder, acceptable and consistent with the values of members
of the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. We believe that understanding
these challenges will enhance the clinician’s ability
to increase patient motivation and participation in therapy
and thereby provide more effective treatment for these and
other religious patients.
Siev & Cohen, 2007
CITATION: Siev, J., & Cohen, A.B. (2007). Is thought–action
fusion related to religiosity? Differences between Christians
and Jews. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45, 829–837.
& Cohen, 2007
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship
between thought–action fusion (TAF) and religiosity
in Christians and Jews (Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform).
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that religiosity
is related to obsessive cognitions in Christian samples, but
conceptual and empirical ambiguities complicate the interpretation
of that literature and its application to non-Christian groups.
As predicted on the basis of previous research, Christians
scored higher than Jews on moral TAF. This effect was large
and not explained by differences in self-reported religiosity.
The Jewish groups did not differ from each other. Furthermore,
religiosity was significantly associated with TAF only within
the Christian group. These results qualify the presumed association
between religiosity and obsessive cognitions. General religiosity
is not associated with TAF; it rather depends on what religious
group. Moreover, large group differences in a supposed maladaptive
construct without evidence of corresponding differences in
prevalence rates call into question the assumption that TAF
is always a marker of pathology.
Baetz & D'Arcy, 2006
CITATION: Bowen, R., Baetz, M. & D’Arcy, C. (2006).
Self-rated importance of religion predicts one-year outcome
of patients with panic disorder. Depression and Anxiety,
Baetz & D'Arcy, 2006
ABSTRACT: Cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication are
efficacious treatments for panic disorder, but individual
attributes such as coping and motivation are important determinants
of treatment response. A sample of 56 patients with panic
disorder, treated with group cognitive-behavioral therapy,
were reassessed 6 months and 12 months after initial assessment.
We studied the effect of self-rated importance of religion,
perceived stress, self-esteem, mastery, and interpersonal
alienation on outcome as measured by the General Severity
Index of the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI.GSI). Importance
of religion was a predictor of BSI.GSI symptom improvement
at 1 year. Over time, improvement was seen for the religion
is very important subgroup in the BSI.GSI and Perceived Stress
Scales. This study suggests that one mechanism by which high
importance of religion reduces psychiatric symptoms is through
reducing perceived stress.
Pargament, Ellison, & Flannelly, 2006
CITATION: McConnel, K.M., Pargament, K.I., Ellison, C.G.,
& Flannelly, K.J. (2006) Examining the links between spiritual
struggles and symptoms of psychopathology in a national sample. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62, 1469-1484.
Pargament, Ellison, & Flannelly, 2006
ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the relationship
between spiritual struggles and various types of psychopathology symptoms in individuals
who had and had not suffered from a recent illness. Participants completed
selfreport measures of religious variables and symptoms of psychopathology.
Spiritual struggles were assessed by a measure of negative
religious coping. As predicted, negative religious coping was significantly
linked to various forms of psychopathology, including anxiety, phobic
anxiety, depression, paranoid ideation, obsessive–compulsiveness, and somatization,
after controlling for demographic and religious variables. In addition,
the relationship between negative religious coping and anxiety and phobic anxiety
was stronger for individuals who had experienced a recent illness.
These results have implications for assessments and interventions
targeting spiritual struggles, especially in medical settings. ©
2006 Wiley Periodicals.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: National
Institutes of Health Newsletter, Winter, 2005
CITATION: Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Volume XII,
Number 1: Winter 2005
& Pargament, 2005
CITATION: Wachholtz, A.B. & Pargament, K.I. (2005). Is
spirituality a critical ingredient of meditation? Comparing
the effects of spiritual meditation, secular meditation, and
relaxation on spiritual, psychological, cardiac, and pain
outcomes. Journal of Behavioral Medicine 28(4),369-384.
& Pargament, 2005
ABSTRACT: This study compared secular and spiritual forms
of meditation to assess the benefits of a spiritual intervention.
Participants were taught a meditation or relaxation technique
to practice for 20 min a day for two weeks. After two weeks,
participants returned to the lab, practiced their technique
for 20 min, and placed their hand in a cold-water bath of
2°C for as long as they could endure it. The length of
time that individuals kept their hand in the water bath was
measured. Pain, anxiety, mood, and the spiritual health were
assessed following the two week intervention. Significant
interactions occurred (time×group); the Spiritual Meditation
group had greater decreases in anxiety and more positive mood,
spiritual health, and spiritual experiences than the other
two groups. They also tolerated pain almost twice as long
as the other two groups.
Jaffe, Eisenback, Neumark & Manor, 2005
CITATION: Jaffe, D.H., Eisenbach, Z., Neumark, Y.D., &
Manor, O (2005). Does living in a religiously affiliated neighborhood
lower mortality? Annals of Epidemiology, 15(10), 804-810.
Eisenback, Neumark & Manor, 2005
ABSTRACT: To examine the effects of living in religiously
affiliated and unaffiliated neighborhoods on mortality risks
above that of individual risk factors, to determine if this
effect behaves in a dose-response manner, and to examine the
interaction between community wealth and religious affiliation.
METHODS: Multilevel modeling of data from the Israel Longitudinal
Mortality Study was used to assess mortality differentials
based on neighborhood religious affiliation. Data were analyzed
for 141,683 individuals aged 45 to 89 years and living in
882 statistical areas. Overall, 29,709 deaths were reported
during the 9.5-year follow-up period. RESULTS: After accounting
for individual demographic and socioeconomic (SES) characteristics
as well as area-SES, men and women living in religiously affiliated
neighborhoods had lower mortality rates than those living
in unaffiliated areas (odds ratio(men) = 0.75; 95% CI, 0.67-0.84;
odds ratio(women) = 0.86; 95% CI, 0.67-0.96). For men, this
relationship behaved in a dose-response manner. Furthermore,
the beneficial effects on mortality of living in a religiously
affiliated area were consistent across age groups, middle-aged
and elderly. Lastly, effect modification of area-SES on area-religion
was observed for women only, whereby for women living in higher-SES
areas, religiosity had no effect on mortality. CONCLUSIONS:
The characteristics of one's immediate neighborhood, namely, community wealth and religious affiliation, have valuable
health implications that should be included when assessing
Weisbuch-Remington, Berry Mendes, Seery & Blascovich, 2005
CITATION: Weisbuch-Remington, M., Berry Mendes, W., Seery,
M.D. & Blascovich, J. (2005). The nonconscious influence
of religious symbols in motivated performance situations. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31(9), 1203-1216.
Berry Mendes, Seery & Blascovich, 2005
ABSTRACT: Anthropological, sociological, and psychological
theories suggest that religious symbols should influence motivational
processes during performance of goal-relevant tasks. In two
experiments, positive and negative religious (Christian) symbols
were presented outside of participants' conscious awareness.
These symbols influenced cardiovascular responses consistent
with challenge and threat states during a subsequent speech
task, particularly when the speech topic concerned participants'
mortality, and only for Christian participants; similar images
lacking Christian meaning were not influential. Results suggested
that these effects were due to the learned meaning of the
symbols and point to the importance of religion as a coping
Barnes, Powell-Griner, McFann & Nahin, 2004
CITATION: Barnes, P.M., Powell-Griner, E., McFann K., &
Nahin, R.L. (May 27, 2004). Complementary and Alternative
Medicine Use Among Adults: United States, 2002. Advance
Data from Vital and Health Statistics, Vol. 343, US Department of Health and Human Services, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center
for Health Statistics.
Powell-Griner, McFann & Nahin, 2004
ABSTRACT: Objective - This report presents selected estimates
of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among
U.S. adults, using data from the 2002 National Health Interview
Survey (NHIS), conducted by the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics
(NCHS). Methods—Data for the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized
population were collected using computer-assisted personal
interviews (CAPI). This report is based on 31,044 interviews
of adults age 18 years and over. Statistics shown in this
report were age adjusted to the year 2000 U.S. standard population.
Results—Sixty-two percent of adults used some form of
CAM therapy during the past 12 months when the definition
of CAM therapy included prayer specifically for health reasons.
When prayer specifically for health reasons was excluded from
the definition, 36% of adults used some form of CAM therapy
during the past 12 months. The 10 most commonly used CAM therapies
during the past 12 months were use of prayer specifically
for one’s own health (43.0%), prayer by others for one’s
own health (24.4%), natural products (18.9%), deep breathing
exercises (11.6%), participation in prayer group for one’s
own health (9.6%), meditation (7.6%), chiropractic care (7.5%),
yoga (5.1%), massage (5.0%), and diet-based therapies (3.5%).
Use of CAM varies by sex, race, geographic region, health
insurance status, use of cigarettes or alcohol, and hospitalization.
CAM was most often used to treat back pain or back problems,
head or chest colds, neck pain or neck problems, joint pain
or stiffness, and anxiety or depression. Adults age 18 years
or over who used CAM were more likely to do so because they
believed that CAM combined with conventional medical treatments
would help (54.9%) and/or they thought it would be interesting
to try (50.1%). Most adults who have ever used CAM have used
it within the past 12 months, although there is variation
by CAM therapy.
Emmons & McCullough, 2003
CITATION: Emmons, R.A., & McCullough, M.E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal
of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377–38.
& McCullough, 2003
ABSTRACT: The effect of a grateful
outlook on psychological and physical well-being was examined.
In Studies 1 and 2, participants were randomly assigned to
1 of 3 experimental conditions (hassles, gratitude listing,
and either neutral life events or social comparison); they
then kept weekly (Study 1) or daily (Study 2) records of their
moods, coping behaviors, health behaviors, physical symptoms,
and overall life appraisals. In a 3rd study, persons with
neuromuscular disease were randomly assigned to either the
gratitude condition or to a control condition. The gratitude-outlook
groups exhibited heightened well-being across several, though
not all, of the outcome measures across the 3 studies, relative
to the comparison groups. The effect on positive affect appeared
to be the most robust finding. Results suggest that a conscious
focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.
Smith, McCullough & Poll, 2003
CITATION: Smith, T.B., McCullough, M.E. and Poll, J. (2003).
Religiousness and depression: Evidence for a main effect and
the moderating influence of stressful life events. Psychological
Bulletin, 129, (4), 614-636.
McCullough & Poll, 2003
ABSTRACT: The association between religiousness and depressive
symptoms was examined with meta-analytic methods across 147
independent investigations (N _ 98,975). Across all
studies, the correlation between religiousness and depressive
symptoms was –.096, indicating that greater religiousness
is mildly associated with fewer symptoms. The results were
not moderated by gender, age, or ethnicity, but the religiousness–
depression association was stronger in studies involving people
who were undergoing stress due to recent life events. The
results were also moderated by the type of measure of religiousness
used in the study, with extrinsic religious orientation and
negative religious coping (e.g., avoiding difficulties through
religious activities, blaming God for difficulties) associated
with higher levels of depressive symptoms, the opposite direction
of the overall findings.
McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002
CITATION: McCullough, M.E., Emmons, R.A., & Tsang, J.
(2002). The grateful disposition: A conceptual and empirical
topography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
Emmons, & Tsang, 2002
ABSTRACT: In four studies, the authors examined the correlates
of the disposition toward gratitude. Study 1 revealed that
self-ratings and observer ratings of the grateful disposition
are associated with positive affect and well-being, prosocial
behaviors and traits, and religiousness/spirituality. Study
2 replicated these findings in a large nonstudent sample.
Study 3 yielded similar results to Studies 1 and 2 and provided
evidence that gratitude is negatively associated with envy
and materialistic attitudes. Study 4 yielded evidence that
these associations persist after controlling for Extraversion/positive
affectivity, Neuroticism/negative affectivity, and Agreeableness.
The development of the Gratitude Questionnaire, a unidimensional
measure with good psychometric properties, is also described.
Pargament, Koenig, & Perez, 2000
CITATION: Pargament, K.I., Koenig, H.G., & Perez, L.M.
(2000). The many methods of religious coping: Development
and initial validation of the RCOPE. Journal of Clinical
Psychology, 56, 519–543.
Koenig, & Perez, 2000
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to develop and validate
a new theoretically based measure thatwould assess the full
range of religious copingmethods, including potentially helpful
and harmful religious expressions. The RCOPE was tested on
a large sample of college students who were coping with a
significant negative life event. Factor analysis of the RCOPE
in the college sample yielded factors largely consistent with
the conceptualization and construction of the subscales. Confirmatory
factor analysis of the RCOPE in a large sample of hospitalized
elderly patients was moderately supportive of the initial
factor structure. Results of regression analyses showed that
religious coping accounted for significant unique variance
in measures of adjustment (stress-related growth, religious
outcome, physical health, mental health, and emotional distress)
after controlling for the effects of demographics and global
religious measures (frequency of prayer, church attendance,
and religious salience). Better adjustmentwas related to a
number of coping methods, such as benevolent religious reappraisals, religious
forgiveness/purification, and seeking religious support. Poorer
adjustment was associated with reappraisals of God’s
powers, spiritual discontent, and punishing God reappraisals.
The results suggest that the RCOPE may be useful to researchers
and practitioners interested in a comprehensive assessment
of religious coping and in a more complete integration of
religious and spiritual dimensions in the process of counseling.
CITATION: Ellis, A. (2000). Can rational emotive behavior
therapy (REBT) be effectively used with people who have devout
beliefs in God and religion? Professional Psychology: Research
and Practice, 31(1), 29-33.
ABSTRACT:Several writers on religion and psychotherapy claim
that people who follow a "loving God" model and
who see God as a partner who works with them to resolve their
problems are less emotionally disturbed and can benefit more
from "rational" systems of therapy than religionists
who have a more negative view of God. Some authors have specifically
written that rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) includes
many religious philosophies and that the principles and practices
of REBT are similar to those endorsed by certain kinds of
devout religionists. In this article, the author describes
the constructive philosophies of REBT and shows how they are
similar to those of many religionists in regard to unconditional
self-acceptance, high frustration tolerance, unconditional
acceptance of others, the desire rather than the need for
achievement and approval, and other mental health goals. It
shows how REBT is compatible with some important religious
views and can be used effectively with many clients who have
absolutistic philosophies about God and religion.