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Prayer, God Imagery, and Symptoms of Psychopathology

Citation

Bradshaw, Matt & Ellison, Christopher G. (2008). Prayer, God Imagery, and Symptoms of Psychopathology. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 47(4), 644-659.

Abstract

Researchers have shown a longstanding interest in the relationship between religion and mental health. Here, we outline a series of hypotheses linking personal prayer, images of God, and mental health. We then empirically test the hypotheses using data from an online survey of U.S. adults (N= 1,629) conducted in 2004 by Spirituality and Health magazine. We find a positive correlation between both frequency of prayer and the perception of God as remote and several different forms of psychopathology; a perceived intimate relationship with a loving God is inversely related. The positive association between prayer and psychopathology manifests itself primarily among individuals who experience God as either (a) remote or (b) not loving. We also find an inverse correlation between prayer and psychopathology among individuals who believe that they are praying to a close (the inverse of remote) God. We discuss the implications of these findings for research on the religion-mental health connection and outline an agenda for future research.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5906.2008.00432.x

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2008

Journal Title

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

Author(s)

Bradshaw, Matt
Ellison, Christopher G.