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Nearer My God to Thee: Self–God Overlap and Believers' Relationships with God

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Three studies, using two community samples (ns = 39 and 78) and a university student sample of Christian believers in God (n = 76), found that more religious people report greater self–other overlap with God. Three measures of self–God overlap were used: the Inclusion of Other in Self (IOS) scale, a dynamic version of the IOS, and an adjective checklist that was used to compute the percentage of traits that were shared between self and God. Study 1 compared evangelicals and atheists; Studies 2 and 3 demonstrated that two components of religiosity, religious conservatism and awareness of God, independently predicted self–God overlap among Christian believers. The findings suggest that believers' relationships with God parallel other close relationships with human others.
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Keywords: Individual differences in religiosity; Relationships with God; Self–other overlap

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA 2: Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Publication date: May 1, 2013

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