Skip to main content

Conceptions of God and the Devil Across the Lifespan: A Cultural-Developmental Study of Religious Liberals and Conservatives

Buy Article:

$51.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Utilizing a cultural-developmental approach, this interview study examined how children, adolescents, and adults from religiously liberal and conservative groups conceptualize God and the Devil. Participants ( N= 120) conceptualized God and the Devil along similar dimensions, including number (e.g., one, many), gender, central attributes (e.g., physical, supernatural), and evaluation (e.g., positive, neutral). Within-subject differentiations of God and the Devil occurred on all dimensions. Religiously liberal and conservative groups differed on attributes, evaluations, and degree of control ascribed to God and the Devil. With respect to age, results suggest a rethinking of the Piagetian interpretation that children's conceptions of supernatural entities are more concrete, more anthropomorphic, and less abstract than those of adolescents and adults. The results instead point to the usefulness of a cultural-developmental approach.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Psychology Clark University

Publication date: 2009-03-01

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more