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Title: Religion & psychological well-being : mapping the relationship between Christian religiosity & personality factors
Author: Tililopoulos, N.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2005
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The presented investigation assessed the relationship between aspects of Christian faith and three major psychological constructs viz. personality, identity, and attachment. More specifically, the variables of primary focus were: (1) Religious orientation, and (2) schizotypal personality traits as defined by the DSM-IV. Secondary variables that were treated as mediators were: (3) general personality traits, (4) aspects of identity, and (5) adult attachment styles. Additionally, variables included were: Religious practices relating to (6) church attendance and (7) prayer, (8) Christian denominations, (9) age, (10) gender, (11) social desirability, and (12) sociodemographic characteristics. The relationship between mainly the primary and secondary variables, with the central focus being on religiosity versus the rest, was considered from both a theoretical and an empirical perspective. The result helped formulate the predictions to be tested, and design of a unified model to account for those relationships. In the first quantitative questionnaire study, 161 British residents adult Christians took part. A non-probability purposive sampling was used. Participants were recruited from the undergraduate programs of the University of Edinburgh, the psychology department volunteer panel, and through individuals who served as intermediate contacts. Alongside descriptive questions, seven standardised psychometric questionnaires were used measuring religiosity (UE-R and RLI), personality (EPQ-R-S), schizotypal traits (SPQ), identity (AIQ-IIIx), attachment (ECR), and desirable responding (BIDR-6). Religiosity had a unique and complex effect on schizotypy that was as strong as that of mainstream psychological variables. The direction of this effect seemed to be determined by the interplay between the religious and the psychological profiles of the individual. The psychological one was of a relatively maladjusted individual, while the religious one was of an ordinary believer. The religious profile appeared to decrease the intensity of schizotypal traits; the psychological one did the opposite. This result suggested that religiosity on its own and in its “natural” state seems to enhance the well-being of the individual. It is only through its interplay with certain kinds and degrees of other psychological elements that psychopathology is born. The second study used qualitative interviews to focus on the identification of conceptual themes through the participants’ religious discourse that directly related to the findings of the first study and the general thesis aims. Fifteen main interview-items were developed that addressed issues of religious life, upbringing, meaning, and practices. Interview transcripts were analysed through thematic analysis. The findings suggested that the main elements of a mental health-enhancing religion revolve around issues of a personal relationship with God, the degree in which religion is embedded in and provides meaning to one’s life, the levels and nature of existential questioning, and the distinction between religious choice and inevitability.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available