Hawaii and Christian Religious Addiction
A Survey Of Attitudes Toward Healthy Spirituality And Religious Addiction Within Christianity
|Institution:||American School of Professional Psychology|
|Advisor(s):||Raymond Folen, Ph.D., Dennis G. Mclaughlin, Ph.D., Robert M. Anderson, Ph.D.|
A literature review was conducted on the relatively newly recognized phenomenon of religious addiction within Christianity. The symptoms, beliefs, and stages of religious addiction along with the characteristics of religiously addictive organizations are also considered. In addition a religious attitudes inventory was designed to assess general spirituality, religious addictive beliefs, religious addictive symptoms, and church leadership practices. The author surveyed ministers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and the general public to assess the relationship between religious addiction and church leadership. More specifically, the purpose of this survey was to attempt to determine if religious addictive beliefs and symptoms are more positively correlated with churches structured upon a self- selected (authoritarian hierarchial) style of leadership versus an elected (collegial) style of church leadership. In the latter, power and authority is equally vested in each of a number of elected church leaders.Inventories were sent to 452 ministers, 175 psychologists, 74 psychiatrists, and 431 members of the general public. Usable responses (Total N=320) were received from 126 ministers (28%), 116 psychologists (66%), 8 psychiatrists (11%), and 78 members of the general public (18%). The subjects were asked to rate how spiritually healthy or unhealthy 33 items involving religious beliefs, symptoms, and church leadership practices are, according to a Likert type 5-point scale ranging from Very Healthy to Very Unhealthy. Standard demographic variables were also assessed to include church membership, religious affiliation, and church service attendance variables. All six hypotheses tested were statistically validated at significant (p < 0.05) levels. The Self-selected Minister group indicated that significantly more religiously addictive- beliefs, symptoms, and church leadership practices were spiritually healthy, compared to the Elected Minister, Psychologist, and Public groups. A factor analysis of the 33 survey items of the Religious Attitudes Inventory extracted 6 factors which suggested commonalities with it's 4 scales. The results of this survey suggest the possibility of a positive correlation between the self-selected minister group and their responses to religious addictive beliefs and symptoms. Further study of a prospective nature with larger samples is necessary to define this relationship more clearly. Additional research with onsite observation and assessments is necessary to adequately verify the possible link between religious addiction and church leadership practices. Future research must replicate this study with different samples to determine whether results obtained in the present survey generalize to similar groups.
Dr. James Slobodzien is a licensed psychologist with a Psy.D. in clinical psychology from the American School of Professional Psychology. He is an adjunct professor at Argosy University, and the Clinical Supervisor and Director of Training at the Department of Psychiatry, Tripler Army Medical Center, Army Substance Abuse Program at Schofield Barracks, HI.