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The Relationship Between Dissociation and Religiosity: An Empirical Evaluation of Schumaker's Theory

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Abstract:

Dissociation can be broadly understood as alterations in consciousness where integrated processing of psychological and/or sensory information is disrupted. Following Schumaker's (1995) suggestion that dissociation elicited by religious ritual provides the basis for religious beliefs, the current aim was to empirically assess the relationship between dissociation, religious ritual, and religious beliefs. Four samples with varying levels of religious commitment were administered the Dissociative Experiences Scale, the Francis Scale of Attitude Toward Christianity-short form, and the Maranell Religious Ritual Scale. Dissociation scores were highest in the young Catholic sample and lowest in the Fellowship group. However, these results are largely affected by the covariate of age. No relationship was found between dissociation, religious attitude, and religious ritual in the student sample. However, small to moderate significant correlations were found in the Catholic sample. Results are discussed with reference to Schumaker's theoretical proposal and directions are suggested for future assessment of the dissociation-religiosity relationship.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0021-8294.00058

Affiliations: 1: School of Psychology, University of New England, Australia and Belmont Private Hospital, Brisbane, Australia, mdorahy@metz.une.edu.au 2: School of Psychology and Communication, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, ca.lewis@ulst.ac.uk

Publication date: June 1, 2001

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