Research on Changes in Spirituality
and Well-Being

This web site has the reports for four reseach studies on factors that may cause changes in spirituality and how those changes relate to well-being. The factors that have been investigated are: (a) participating in healthy lifestyle programs that include yoga and meditation, among other activies, (b) dealing with a traumatic event (sexual assault), and (c) reactions to transcendent or paranormal experiences. In addition, two other manuscripts on various aspects of religion are provided.

Many epidemiological studies indicate that spiritual or religious faith is correlated with better physical and mental health. The implication is that people should become more spiritual. However, there is very little research on how people become spiritual or what factors cause changes in spirituality. In fact, until studies are done that scientifically investigate the health effects of changes in spirituality, the interpretation of the correlations in the epidemiological studies will be unconvincing.

Most of the articles are provided in html, pdf, and Word document formats.

Jim Kennedy

Articles on Changes in Spirituality and Well-Being

Changes in Spirituality and Well-Being in a Retreat Program for Cardiac Patients. (2002), James E. Kennedy, R. Anne Abbott, Beth S. Rosenberg, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine , Volume 8, No. 4, pp. 64-73.
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Changes in Spirituality and Well-Being in a Medically Based Lifestyle Program. (2003), James E. Kennedy, Kitty Gurkin Rosati, Lawrence H. Spann, Ann D. King, Francis A. Neelon, Robert A. Rosati, Published on the internet.
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Changes in Spirituality and Well-Being Among Victims of Sexual Assault. (1998), James E. Kennedy, Robert C. Davis, and Bruce G. Taylor, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion , Volume 37, pp. 322-328.
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An Exploratory Study of the Effects of Paranormal and Spiritual Experiences on Peoples' Lives and Well-Being. (1995), J.E. Kennedy and H. Kanthamani, Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, Volume 89, Pages 249-264.
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Other Manuscripts on Religion

Religious Guilt and Fear, Well-Being, and Fundamentalism. (1999), James E. Kennedy, Published on the internet.
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Most research on religion or spirituality measures how important religion or spirituality is to a person. However, religious beliefs and feelings can be very different among people who say religion is important to them. For some people, faith is based on compassion, forgiveness, and unity of all people. For others, religious faith focuses on fear of punishment and guilt. I could find no established questionnaires to measure these important dimensions of religious faith. In order to explore these dimensions and get some experience measuring them, I made a questionnaire and obtained responses from about 100 people with diverse religious beliefs. The above manuscript was submitted to two religion journals. The editor of one journal said the study was too preliminary for publication and the editor of the the other said the study lacked a theoretical basis. The articles in both journals focus on the positive aspects of religion. I suspect the editors were hesitant to explore negative aspects of religion (particularly for the argument about lack of theoretical basis). I thought the manuscript had useful initial information on an important dimension of religion. This manuscript may be interesting to anyone who wants to explore these potentially important dimensions of religion.

Empirical Support for a Model of Well-Being, Meaning in Life, Importance of Religion, and Transcendent Experiences. (1995), James E. Kennedy and H. Kanthamani, Published on the internet.
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After preparing this manuscript, I gave more thought to what can and cannot be done with structural equations methods and became much less enthusiastic about their value. I began devoting my efforts to other strategies for research. The manuscript may have some value for understanding the relationships among transcendent experiences, religion, meaning in life, and well-being. Some who read the manuscript commented that the general discussion of path analysis and structural equations is a clear and useful introduction to those methods.

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Related Links

    Articles on Yoga

    Duke Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health

    Integrating Science and Spirituality

    Spirituality and Paranormal Phenomena