Abstract

The vast majority of people living in the U.S. report that spirituality is an important part of their life. Ironically, the field of psychology has largely ignored the spiritual beliefs and experiences that so many people see as central to their well-being. Empirical study of spirituality, along with people's differing perceptions of their relationship to God, is a viable area of study for psychologists. This dissertation examines both spirituality and God image and the relationship between these two constructs using qualitative hermeneutic analysis. Findings showed a difficulty defining spirituality among other themes. Findings also showed that individuals' experiences with God led to more concrete descriptions of Deity, and participants often alluded to a gap between themselves and God that creates dissonance. It was generally easier for participants to describe God than spirituality, and religious concepts were integral to participants' descriptions of both spirituality and God. Implications for psychology and counseling include the limitations of current quantitative measurement of these constructs, the importance of addressing contextual worldviews, and issues relevant to counseling.

Degree

PhD

College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2009-04-22

Document Type

Dissertation

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd2904

Keywords

spirituality, God image, psychology, counseling

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