Kenneth I. Pargament's research while affiliated with Bowling Green State University and other places

Publications (378)

Article
Sacred moments, or sanctified periods of time, may result in psychological benefits for those who experience them, and music may have the potential to facilitate or enhance these sacred moments. Using qualitative content analysis, the present study examined narratives from US adults (N = 209) who had experienced important moments while listening, p...
Article
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Studies highlight that although the spiritual/religious dimension is commonly used as a re- source for coping with stress and suffering, sometimes this dimension can also be a locus of struggles. The Religious and Spiritual Struggles (RSS) Scale, composed of 26 items (extended version), is an instrument that assesses the presence of six types of sp...
Article
Studies highlight that although the spiritual/religious dimension is commonly used as a re- source for coping with stress and suffering, sometimes this dimension can also be a locus of struggles. The Religious and Spiritual Struggles (RSS) Scale, composed of 26 items (extended version), is an instrument that assesses the presence of six types of sp...
Article
We tested preregistered hypotheses (a) examining the structure of supernatural beliefs and perceived experiences and (b) predicting supernatural engagement from the Big Five and cognitive styles. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) of self-report data in the U.S. undergraduates (Study 1: n = 1,401; Study 2: n = 1,939) showed that bel...
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We used two waves of longitudinal data from a sample of South Africans (n = 274) to examine whether religious/spiritual (R/S) struggles following an interpersonal transgression might lead to both pain (i.e., depression) and gain (i.e., perceived posttraumatic growth) six months later. We also explored the role of positive R/S coping in modifying ea...
Article
The aim of this study was to qualitatively explore sacred moments in religiously integrated group therapy for Danish Pentecostals who were experiencing a personal crisis (n = 18). This was a follow-up study based on data from 2009 and 2018. An interpretative phenomenological analytical approach was used to generate and analyze the data material. Th...
Article
How do people cope with spiritual struggles? For those who believe in a personal, relational God, some responses may focus on their perceived relationship with God: They might approach (draw close), disengage (turn away or exit), protest (complain, argue, or question), or suppress (avoid or minimize negative feelings). This paper presents initial v...
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Objective Many studies have documented significant associations between religion and spirituality (R/S) and health, but relatively few prospective analyses exist that can support causal inferences. To date, there has been no systematic analysis of R/S survey items collected in US cohort studies. We conducted a systematic content analysis of all sur...
Article
Religious coping has emerged as a guiding paradigm for understanding ways in which religion shapes how people adapt to life’s most difficult experiences. Although research on religious coping has advanced substantially over the last two decades, there has been a disproportionate focus on non-interpersonal stressors with samples from predominantly w...
Article
Objective: This study tested three conceptual explanatory models that have been theorized to account for the linkages between religious/spiritual (R/S) struggles and psychological distress: the primary model (i.e., R/S struggles lead to psychological distress), the secondary model (i.e., psychological distress leads to R/S struggles), and the comp...
Article
Beliefs in supernatural evil have been widespread throughout human history, and they remain so today. Yet conversations about demonic struggles—tensions and conflicts involving beliefs and experiences regarding the devil, demons, or evil spirits or forces— may make many people uneasy, including therapists. Still, demonic struggles have clinical rel...
Article
Despite a growing interest in the relationship between religion and spirituality (RS) and mental health across helping professions, less is known about clients’ perceived relevance of these areas. This article describes the development and validation of the Relevance of Religion and Spirituality to Mental Health (RRSMH) scale, and responses to the...
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Over the last several years, there has been a growing interest in clients’ views toward integrating their religion and spirituality (RS) into mental health treatment. However, most of these studies have been limited to small samples and specific populations, regions, and/or clinical issues. This article describes the first national survey of curren...
Article
Context Religion and spirituality (r/s) are important resources in coping with cancer. However, there are aspects of r/s, such as religious and spiritual struggles, found to be associated with poorer outcomes. A new measure has been adapted from the Religious and Spiritual Struggles Scale (RSS) to assess r/s struggles: the RSS-14. This concise meas...
Article
Authenticity predicts greater presence of meaning in life, in general (between-persons) and in the moment (within-persons). However, little is known about whether authenticity predicts negative aspects of life meaning, such as struggles with ultimate meaning. Across three studies (total N = 719), two of which used daily diaries (daily reports = 1,9...
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Social scientists have increasingly recognized the lack of diversity in survey research on American religion, resulting in a dearth of data on religion and spirituality (R/S) in understudied racial and ethnic groups. At the same time, epidemiological studies have increasingly diversified their racial and ethnic representation, but have collected fe...
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This paper describes the development and initial psychometric testing of the baseline Spirituality Survey (SS-1) from the Study on Stress, Spirituality, and Health (SSSH). The SS-1 contains a mixture of items selected from validated existing scales and new items generated to measure important constructs not captured by existing instruments, and our...
Article
Religious coping and spiritual struggles were qualitatively analyzed in 15 semi-structured interviews with Norwegian Hodgkin’s disease survivors. We asked, How is religious coping expressed in 15 Norwegian Hodgkin’s disease survivors? The analyses were theory-driven, using religious coping and spiritual struggles theories as explorative tools. Espe...
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Does God listen and respond to prayers? This project provided initial validation for a brief measure of perceived divine engagement and disengagement in response to prayer. As part of a larger project on religious/spiritual struggles among U.S. undergraduates, we used Sample 1 (n = 400) for exploratory factor analysis and Sample 2 (n = 413) for con...
Chapter
The Religious and Spiritual Struggles Scale (RSS) measures important psychological constructs involved in the complex relationship between religion and well-being. Religious/spiritual struggles are distinct from religiousness, distress, and each other, but the RSS’ internal discriminant validity has not been tested longitudinally. Previously, we pu...
Preprint
What types of religious and spiritual struggles do people experience when they disengage from religion? We examined college students (N = 3,598) who had pulled back from religion, either by no longer identifying as religious or spiritual (Dones) or by disengaging from organized religion while maintaining an identity as religious (Disengaged but Rel...
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Religious and spiritual struggles are typically assessed by self-report scales using closed-ended items, yet nascent research suggests that using open-ended interviews and prompts may complement and advance assessment and theories. In the current mixed-methods study, undergraduate participants (N = 976) completed open-ended descriptions of their re...
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To identify potential protective mechanisms that might buffer the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on well-being, the current set of studies (NStudy 1 = 1172, NStudy 2 = 451) examined the roles of hope and religious coping (positive and negative) in promoting well-being during stay-at-home orders that were implemented in Colombia and South Africa....
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Religious and spiritual (r/s) struggles have been robustly linked to negative outcomes, such as greater psychological distress, reduced well-being, and difficulty finding meaning in life. R/s struggles, however, do not inevitably lead to decline. Many people report post-traumatic and spiritual growth through their r/s struggles, even though correla...
Article
Dyadic discussions that directly tap into spouses' views on spirituality and religiousness (S/R) represent an understudied but important facet of marital functioning that may be tied, for better or worse, to marital conflict and resolution processes. This study used longitudinal data gathered from 164 married couples across the transition to parent...
Conference Paper
Ever experienced a moment that transcended everyday life while seeing your favorite band perform? When you finally learned to play a challenging set of chords? Or when a new song described how you were feeling perfectly? Sacred moments are sanctified periods of time. This mixed-methods study explored the characteristics of sacred moments experience...
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Little attention has been given to the integral relationship between character strengths and spirituality (the search for or communing with the sacred to derive meaning and purpose). The science of character strengths has surged in recent years with hundreds of studies, yet with minimal attention to spirituality or the literature therein. At the sa...
Article
Potentially morally injurious events (PMIEs), including committing transgressions (Transgressions-Self) and perceiving betrayals, have been positively associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A proposed mechanism for the association between PMIEs and PTSD symptoms is social disconnection. However, research on PMIEs and social disconnec...
Preprint
Full-text available
Religious and spiritual struggles are typically assessed by self-report scales using closed-ended items, yet nascent research suggests that using open-ended items may complement and advance assessment. In the current study, undergraduate participants (N = 976) completed open-ended descriptions of their religious and spiritual struggles, the Religio...
Article
This cross-sectional study used data from 486 Israeli Jews and Muslims to examine the phenomenon of religious coping among an Israeli sample. Participants were recruited in the context of two research projects on coping methods, one examining the stress of the Gaza war of 2014, and the other examining the stress of aging. Participants provided demo...
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Research indicates that people with strong social support networks tend to cope more effectively with stressful life events. This study aims to contribute to this literature in three ways. First, we assess spiritual social support that was received in religious institutions. Spiritual support is assistance that is provided with the explicit purpose...
Article
Previous analysis of the data that are used in this study reveal that compared to people who self-identify as religious and spiritual, spiritual only, and neither religious nor spiritual, study participants who are religious only are more likely to experience physical and mental health problems. The purpose of this study is to conduct a descriptive...
Article
There is considerable debate about the distinction between being religious and being spiritual. It is time to move beyond this issue to an examination of the health-related implications of being religious and/or spiritual. Three health outcomes are used in this study: self-rated health, depressive symptoms, and alcohol use. The data are from a larg...
Preprint
Religion and spirituality are areas of diversity and multiculturalism that have yet to be comprehensively addressed in most mental health training programs. Without this type of training, many practitioners lack the competence and confidence to engage in spiritually competent care–clinical practice that recognizes the importance of religion and spi...
Preprint
Background: We designed the online Spiritual Competency Training in Mental Health (SCT-MH) program to train providers across mental health fields in basic religious and spiritual (RS) competencies. The goal was to help address the professional training gap in RS aspects of multicultural diversity and integration. We hypothesized that providers comp...
Article
The current study systematically explored and described religious/spiritual (r/s) struggles – distress, tension, and conflict about certain aspects of r/s belief, practice, or experience – in a Veteran sample. Participants were 178 United States Veterans (148 men, 30 women) receiving care at a VA hospital and affiliated outpatient clinics who repor...
Article
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To what extent do people perceive the election of President Trump as the work of evil forces, a violation of the sacred, or the will of God? Demonization and desecration are negative spiritual appraisals associated with psychological maladjustment across political and relational contexts. Sanctification refers to the imbuing of persons, objects, or...
Article
Theoretically, religion/spirituality may protect against alcohol problems or facilitate recovery. However, challenges can arise in religious/spiritual life that may contribute to or complicate alcohol problems. Emerging adults often experience difficult transitions from family environments to independent membership in academic communities straddlin...
Article
Religion and spirituality are areas of diversity and multiculturalism that have yet to be comprehensively addressed in most mental health training programs. Without this type of training, many practitioners lack the competence and confidence to engage in spiritually competent care-clinical practice that recognizes the importance of religion and spi...
Article
Full-text available
This study examined the extent to which 164 married heterosexuals’ reports of the sanctification of marriage and spiritual intimacy during pregnancy predicted the trajectory of the couples’ observed intimacy skills during late pregnancy and when their first child was 3, 6, and 12 months old. At each time point, couples were videotaped in their home...
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Moral struggles involve internal conflict regarding inconsistencies between one’s higher values and the actions of the self and may include guilt, shame, contempt, disgust, and anger. Previous research in civilian populations revealed several factors that might predispose people to moral struggles. The current study sought to replicate and extend t...
Article
Objectives The study replicated and extended previous findings by investigating relationships between positive and negative religious coping and psychological distress in minority older adults. Methods Older adults were evaluated during screening and baseline procedures of a psychotherapy clinical trial for late‐life worry and anxiety. Participant...
Article
When coping with challenges in life, including religious−spiritual (R-S) struggles, those who believe in a relational deity (referred to here as God) may see themselves and God as active partners in engaging with the problem. We examined whether (a) attempts to engage with God via religious coping and (b) perceptions of receiving help from God were...
Article
Full-text available
Religious and spiritual struggles (R/S struggles)—tension or conflicts regarding religious or spiritual matters—have been robustly linked to greater psychological distress and lower well-being. Most research in this area has relied on samples consisting predominantly of participants who believe in god(s). Limited research has examined R/S struggles...
Article
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Many people rely on religion to deal with the stressors in their lives. The purpose of this study is to examine a religious coping resource that has received relatively little attention—reading the Bible. We evaluated three hypotheses: (1) reading the Bible moderates the relationship between stress and hope; (2) people who read the Bible more often...
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Inflammation, often measured by C-reactive protein (CRP), is thought to be related to a number of debilitating illnesses as we age, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. Stress has also been implicated in these processes. This study examines potential protective effects of spirituality and religion in older adults who have experien...
Article
According to sanctification theory, religious people tend to imbue certain aspects of their lives with spiritual character and significance. Moreover, they take active steps to preserve and protect sacred aspects of their lives that might be threatened. If they are successful, they derive a deep sense of satisfaction and well‐being. However, when s...
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A number of investigators have studied biblical inerrancy (i.e., the belief that the Bible is inspired by God, free from error, and should be interpreted literally). However, there has been little research on the relationship between biblical inerrancy and mental health outcomes. The purpose of this study is to address this gap in the literature. T...
Article
Research in civilians experiencing religious/spiritual (R/S) struggles has shown that various psychosocial and R/S strengths associated with Pargament’s theory of a religious orienting system (ROS) predict more positive spiritual transformation and struggle-related adjustment. In this study, U.S. military veterans (N = 178; 30 women) reporting a cu...
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Many people experience religious/spiritual (R/S) struggles following specific stressful life events (SLE). However, SLE may aggregate, gradually undermining individuals’ orienting systems. Does SLE accumulation predict greater R/S struggles? Might general religiousness buffer cumulative effects of SLE on R/S struggles? We tested these hypotheses us...
Article
The purpose of this study is to see if the use of religious coping responses is associated with alcohol intake. In addition, tests are conducted to see if the relationship between religion and alcohol use varies by gender. Data from a recent nationwide survey (N = 2173) indicate that greater use of religious coping responses is associated with less...
Article
The time periods or experiences during which people believe that they encountered the sacred may be referred to as sacred moments. Such experiences might serve as transformative influences, potentially revealing fundamental truths that help to organize the ways that people view themselves, others, and the world in more coherent and adaptive ways. W...
Preprint
In recent years, several works have reported on perceived addiction to internet pornography, or the potential for some individuals to label their own use of pornography as compulsive or out of control. Such works have consistently found that perceived addiction is related to concerning outcomes such as psychological distress, relational distress, a...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, several works have reported on perceived addiction to internet pornography, or the potential for some individuals to label their own use of pornography as compulsive or out of control. Such works have consistently found that perceived addiction is related to concerning outcomes such as psychological distress, relational distress, a...
Article
Full-text available
In the nascent literature on the sequelae of exposure to potentially morally injurious events (PMIEs), there has been little consideration of the possible associations between PMIE exposure and positive, growth-related outcomes. Broadly, trauma exposure is associated with negative changes in life satisfaction. However, posttraumatic growth (PTG) ha...
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The concept of spiritual-religious coping gained attention in Brazil with the adaptation and validation of the RCOPE Scale (Panzini 2004; long version: 87 items and brief version: 49 items). The Brief RCOPE still contains a large number of items, so attempts to further reduce the size of the measure are relevant. This study presents the validation...
Chapter
There are many sources of strength when stressful events occur throughout life. Psychologists have identified factors such as social support, positive emotions, and self-compassion that contribute to resilience. Religion and spirituality offer an additional dimension in coping with adversity: the sacred . We argue that an integrated connection with...
Article
In a large online survey of undergraduates, we examined the degree to which social desirability concerns might bias pornography-related self-reports and whether these biases are stronger among highly religious participants than among less-religious ones. Recent state-level analyses have put forward a controversial suggestion that religious individu...