Find concepts and theories of psychological science. I include definitions, examples, names of theorists, and references to conceptual articles and research studies. This blog is updated as I write about related terms. I may earn income from purchases of advertised products or links.
Wednesday, January 8, 2020
struggles are typically experiences of conflicts of religious or spiritual
beliefs, practices, or experiences that cause or extend distress. The distress
may be experienced as an emotion such as sadness, anger, or anxiety. In
addition, people who struggle may wrestle with conflicting thoughts.
struggles can be interpersonal and intrapersonal. Interpersonal spiritual struggles may
be between the individual and God such as anger with God for “not showing up as expected” or acting in a way that seemed unloving. Spiritual struggles may also be between the person and others such as a young college woman experiencing
conflicts with parents over religious values or conflicts within congregations.
Intrapersonal struggles may be experienced
as a failure to live up to spiritual standards of right living or difficulty in
forgiving oneself for moral failure. Struggles may also be experienced as a
battle with supernatural evil.
struggles may be different from other psychological difficulties because of the
experience of the supernatural as well as the importance of religion and
spirituality to the identity of many people.
struggles can be assessed through interviews and survey items.
suggests younger persons and women are more susceptible to struggles than are others.
can affect mood and behavior with symptoms of depression and anxiety evident.
The effects of a struggle may be closely linked to the struggle itself or the effects may worsen an existing health or mental health condition. Spiritual struggles have been linked to worsening a variety of general
health conditions such as cardiovascular problems and cancer.
Few studies have
looked at the possibility of personal growth following a spiritual struggle.
This is an area in need of research. An example might be a more mature outlook
or sense of peace and wellbeing once the struggle has been resolved.
When spiritual struggles result from a person's behavior that violates their spiritual/moral standards, self-forgiveness may be helpful in repairing the distress and "healing the soul."
I am drawing on a
summary by Julie Exline (2013) for this post. Please see her chapter (below) or
other works to learn more about spiritual struggles and the names of prominent
scientists who study this field.
You can find a variety
of scales and survey items related to spirituality at my Assessment and
Statistics Blog. Some of the measures are free to use or may be free with permission of the author. https://statistics.suttong.com/
Some spiritual survey scales and items are included
in the book Creating
Exline, J. J. (2013). Religious and spiritual struggles. In J. J.
Exline (Ed.), APA handbook of psychology, religion, and spirituality
(Vol 1): Context, theory, and research. (pp. 459–475). Washington, DC:
American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/14045-025