Honors Program

Midway Honors

Date of Award

5-2012

Thesis Professor(s)

Jon R. Webb

Thesis Professor Department

Psychology

Thesis Reader(s)

Jameson Hirsch, Teresa Brooks-Taylor

Abstract

Introduction: There is a growing interest in psychological and health research in the relationship between spirituality and physical and mental health variables. Forgiveness has also been considered in such research and hypothesized as a potential mediating variable. However, much of the research in this area has not examined spirituality in the dimensions ritualistic, theistic, and existentialistic, nor has it tested for the potential mediation of forgiveness. The purpose of this study was to expand upon the dimensions of spirituality, with forgiveness as a mediator, and to test how they affect state and trait anxiety.

Methods: Participants in this cross-sectional study were 479 students at East Tennessee State University (Caucasian=78.29%, ♀=69.10%, Mage=22.45). Participants completed a variety of self-report measures including the RiTE measure of spirituality, state and trait anxiety measure, Heartland Forgiveness Scale, and religious background and behaviors.

Results and Discussion: Existentialistic spirituality was found to be related to both state and trait anxiety with forgiveness providing both indirect only and full mediation effects. Forgiveness of self and forgiveness of situations served as the only mediators between existentialistic spirituality and state and trait anxiety. Ritualistic and theistic spirituality were not significantly related to state and trait anxiety. It appears that spirituality may operate through forgiveness of self and forgiveness of situations to affect state and trait anxiety. That is, existentialistic spirituality is associated with forgiveness, which in turn is associated with lower anxiety. As such, it may be useful to integrate the concept of these dimensions of spirituality when assessing anxiety in psychological health patients.

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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