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The Psychology of Religion and Happiness

The Psychology of Religion and Happiness

The Psychology of Religion and Happiness

A minimum of  3 scholarly peered reviewed article for DQ  and 3 scholarly peered reviewed article for DQ 2 must be sited using APA format 600 words for each topic 8 DQ 1 and 2    Note: Please see reading references below

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Topic 8 DQ 1

Explain how happiness is affected by social relationships, work, leisure, and religion. Access and read the GCU Statement on the Integration of Faith and Work. How might a person with the Christian worldview (CWV) explain how the CWV influences social relationships, moral attitudes, and moral behaviors.

Topic 8 DQ 2

Select a scholarly article that discusses religion and happiness. Discuss the effect that religious belief has on people’s happiness or unhappiness as it relates to their behaviors and attitudes. What effect does religion have on helping behavior, the prevalence of prejudice, and health of religious people? Share your findings. The Psychology of Religion and Happiness

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    DOI: 10.1037/14046-020 APA Handbook of Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality: Vol. 2. An Applied Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, K. I. Pargament (Editor-in-Chief) Copyright © 2013 by the American Psychological Association. All rights reserved.

    C h a P t e r 2 0

    an applIEd IntEgratIVE approaCh to ExplorIng how

    rElIgIon and spIrItualIty ContrIButE to or CountEraCt prEjudICE and dIsCrImInatIon

    Carrie Doehring

    In the following three case examples, consider the ways that religion and spirituality contribute to and counteract prejudice.

    Case Example 1 Janice initiated marital counseling

    because of escalating conflict between her husband Bill and their 18-year-old daughter Suzy. Janice disagreed with how Bill was handling this conflict. At the dinner table, whenever Bill made derogatory remarks about the Latino men who worked in his lawn care busi- ness, Suzy heatedly challenged him: How could he say he was a Christian and be so prejudiced? Bill argued that he had to lay down the law with his employees because they were lazy. Being a strict boss was part of his Christian work ethic. Suzy said she was against racism and wanted to be part of a summer outreach to illegal immigrants on the Mexican–American border. Bill had forbidden her to go. Bill agreed to marriage counseling if they could find a Christian marriage counselor who held religious views similar to his: Someone who could help them live out biblical mandates to be strong parents.

    Case Example 2 Samantha, a supervising psycholo-

    gist at a campus-based clinic, consulted

    with a colleague who specialized in organizational diversity training. She was troubled by remarks made by other supervisors about an international practi- cum student, Eunjoo Cho, a woman from Korea, who had the lowest caseload at the clinic.

    At a recent supervisory meeting there was an extensive discussion about whether Eunjoo’s quiet demeanor and her accent were making it “hard for her to retain clients.” Samantha was begin- ning to question whether subtle forms of racism and sexism might be influencing the way she and her colleagues identi- fied aspects of Eunjoo’s identity as the problem. These questions distressed her because she was committed to valuing social justice and antiracism as part of her Jewish beliefs. The Psychology of Religion and Happiness

    Case Example 3 Jasmine is an African American

    24-year-old woman who joined the Army after her college graduation. During her college years she was part of a woman’s group in her community of faith that used African-centered spiritual practices to cope with all kinds of stress, includ- ing racism. She has been deployed in Afghanistan as a chaplain’s assistant.

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    During her deployment she hoped to draw upon her undergraduate major in religious studies and use her spiritual practices in her work. She also wanted to explore a vocation for ministry.

    She recently went to the psychologist at her base with symptoms of anxiety and depression. She described how angry she is with Roy, another chaplain’s assistant, who has made her life miserable by con- stantly questioning her appearance—her fitted uniform, styled hair, fingernail pol- ish and make-up. He attributes her popu- larity among the soldiers who stop by the chaplain’s office to the way she “dolls herself up.” Roy comes from a Chris- tian denomination that does not ordain women. He uses biblical texts to ques- tion how a “sexy babe” like her can even think about Christian ministry. Jasmine is bitter and disillusioned about her naive hope that she could not only survive but thrive during her deployment by being a spiritually strong team member of the chaplain’s office. Now she can’t even pray, is experiencing religious struggles, and hates going on duty.

    As these three examples illustrate, the ways that religion and spirituality contribute to and counteract prejudice are complex and multifaceted. In Case Example 1, Bill’s religious paternalism contributes to the way he makes his daughter the problem and not his racism. He hopes he can find a counselor whose religious beliefs will support his paternalism. In Case Example 2, Samantha’s religious commitment to social justice counteracts possible prejudice by rais- ing questions about how Eunjoo’s supervisors focus on her accent and demeanor as the problem. In Case Example 3, Jasmine’s spiritual practices, which helped her cope with racism in the past, seem to have failed her in the face of religiously oriented sex- ual harassment. In these scenarios, people seek help. How will their clinicians address the complex ways that religion, spirituality, and prejudice are related?

    To address this complexity, clinicians need to draw on an integrated paradigm for the psychology

    of religion and spirituality (see Volume 1, Chapter 1, this handbook). Using this paradigm, clinicians assume that religion and spirituality are multidi- mensional, “made up of a myriad of thoughts, feel- ings, actions, experiences, relationships, and physiological responses” (Volume 1, Chapter 1, this handbook, p. 5) and hence are related to prejudice in a variety of life-enhancing, life-limiting, and destructive ways. Although some clinicians might be inclined to focus on religion as contributing to prej- udice and spirituality rather than as counteracting prejudice, “the critical question is not whether reli- gion and spirituality are good or bad [when it comes to prejudice], but rather when, how, and why they take constructive or destructive forms” (Volume 1, Chapter 1, this handbook, p. 7). The Psychology of Religion and Happiness

    In this chapter, I explore the ways religion and spirituality contribute to or counteract prejudice using an integrated paradigm that strives to engage

    ■ psychological, cultural, religious, and theo- logical theories about prejudice, religion, and spirituality;

    ■ psychological research on religion and spirituality;

    ■ social psychological research on prejudice and discrimination; and

    ■ clinical, supervisory, and educational interven- tions with persons and organizations who are prejudiced, who discriminate, or who are targets of prejudice and discrimination.

    The purpose of this chapter is to apply this inte- grated psychological paradigm of religion, spiritual- ity, and prejudice to the practices of clinical care and supervision. In this way, research findings and theories about religion, spirituality, and prejudice will be brought into conversation with practices of care and supervision in ways that take into account the complex psychological roles of religion and spir- ituality in the well-being of persons, families, and communities. The ultimate goal is to twofold: (a) to challenge the ways religion and spirituality psycho- logically contribute to prejudice and (b) to enhance spiritually integrated psychological change pro- cesses that counteract prejudice. In this way, coun- selors, supervisors, and teachers can be part of social

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    transformation that opposes religiously linked prejudice.

    I begin with definitions of three types of prejudice, illustrating how clinicians can identify the role of religion and spirituality in each type of prejudice. Next, I review research on the relation- ship between prejudice and people’s religious world- views or orientations. I highlight the clinical need to assess when religion becomes “toxic” because of right-wing authoritarianism. I turn to research and education programs that counteract prejudice to highlight how clinicians, supervisees, and clients can implement religious and spiritual humanitarian values to counteract their tendencies toward preju- dice. I briefly consider how organizational antipreju- dice interventions can incorporate religion and spirituality by using an applied integrative paradigm for the psychology of religion and spirituality. Finally, I look at how this paradigm can be used by clinicians working with clients who are targets of prejudice and discrimination. Clinical narrative threads are woven throughout this chapter because of my focus on applying an integrative paradigm. I return to the opening examples to keep addressing the “So what?” question of how an integrated para- digm for understanding the psychology of religion, spirituality, and prejudice is relevant in the practices of clinical care and supervision.

    DEFININg PREJuDICE, STEREOTyPINg, AND DISCRIMINATION

    Stereotyping is

    perceiving and treating others as repre- sentative of some group to which, on the basis of superficial appearance alone, one assumes they belong, and in the belief that they possess the psychological traits which one believes to characterise [sic] members of that group. (Richards, 2008, p. 238)

    Social psychologists define prejudice as prejudgment that associates aspects of someone’s appearance or accent with stereotypes about gender, age, race (as a social or cultural and not a biological category), or other aspects of social identity. Although stereotypes

    and prejudice can be positive, in this chapter, I will focus on negative stereotypes and prejudice. There are various types of prejudice. Prejudice can affirm one’s own group (self-affirming prejudice or in-group favoritism), express hostility or hatred toward a tar- geted group (hate prejudice; see Chapter 18 in this volume), or protect one’s group from threats (threat prejudice; Brewer, 2007). Discrimination is prejudice put into action: rejecting or excluding people who are targets of prejudice from access to the social privileges enjoyed by those in the majority. These terms can be elaborated and illustrated by returning to the opening examples. The Psychology of Religion and Happiness

    Religion and Self-Affirming Prejudice Religious beliefs may be used to justify self-affirming prejudice, often in subtle, self-righteous ways. According to Silberman, Higgins, and Dweck (2005),

    Religions often contain values and ideas that may facilitate prejudice, discrimina- tion, and violence by encouraging the consciousness of belonging to a select and privileged community, and by emphasizing the “otherness” of those who do not follow the tenets of the religion. (p. 774)

    In Case Example 2, the supervisors comprise a select and privileged group within the clinic. As such, they may not recognize the ways that Eunjoo’s demeanor and accent make her “other.” They may be express- ing a self-affirming form of prejudice. They might, for example, believe that if only Eunjoo and other international students could speak English without an accent and act assertively like their supervisors do, they would be able to retain clients. These supervisors probably hold strong liberal beliefs about being fair and nondiscriminatory. These pro- gressive beliefs make it harder for them to question their attitude toward Eunjoo. This lack of reflection, along with the belief that they are not prejudiced, may paradoxically contribute to self-affirming preju- dice. On the other hand, religious beliefs have prompted Samantha to feel uneasy and to question whether she is living according to Jewish beliefs of being hospitable and looking after those who are marginalized. Her religious value of social justice

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    make her aware of the subtle ways that Eunjoo’s “otherness” may marginalize her.

    Religion and Threat Prejudice Threat prejudice may be a “response to sacred values under threat and, in part, as a way of defend- ing against these threats” (Pargament, Trevino, Mahoney, & Silberman, 2007, p. 147; see also Stephan & Renfro, 2002). For example, Christians who see Jews as a threat—even as desecrators of Christianity—are more likely to have anti-Semitic attitudes (Pargament et al., 2007, p. 155). In this same study, people affirming the Christian value of love were less likely to be prejudiced against Jews. On the other hand, Pargament et al. (2007) found that negative religious coping, including beliefs that Jews are being punished by God, was tied to greater conflict with Jews and greater anti-Semitism. In a similar study, Abu-Raiya, Pargament, Mahoney, and Trevino (2008) found that Christians who view Muslims as desecrating Christianity and use nega- tive religious coping (including beliefs that God is punishing Muslims) are more likely to hold anti- Muslim attitudes. Christians using positive religious coping, including an emphasis on Christian love and a valuing of Islamic spirituality, had lower anti- Muslim beliefs (Abu-Raiya et al., 2008). The Psychology of Religion and Happiness

    When clinicians ask questions about how clients are using religion in positive and negative ways to cope with stress, they can assess how religious cop- ing contributes to or counteracts threat prejudice. For example, in Case Example 1, Bill may feel threatened by his dependence on his employees (threat prejudice) because without them, he could not successfully run his business. He may be using religion in negative ways to cope with the stress of being dependent on his Latino employees. He may hold embedded beliefs that the success of his busi- ness is a consequence of both hard work and being blessed by God. Conversely, the hardships experi- enced by his Latino employees may signify that they have not worked as hard or been as blessed by God. This negative religious coping contributes to threat prejudice. If he were to examine these beliefs in spiritually integrated counseling (Pargament, 2007), then he might be able to use religion in positive ways to cope with the stress of running a business. A

    therapist could explore Bill’s fears and whether he could collaboratively work with God to feel more hopeful about his business and thus less threatened by his reliance on his employees. Alternatively, life- enhancing spiritual practices could be explored, like expressing gratitude for moments when work goes well and taking in the beauty of nature when work- ing outdoors. These interventions may help Bill draw on his religion in positive ways that alleviate prejudice toward his employees.

    Religion and Hate Prejudice Threats to one’s religious beliefs are often experi- enced as particularly dangerous and may provoke violent reactions that combine hate and threat prej- udice (Silberman et al., 2005). Religious beliefs can easily be used to fuel hate prejudice, as Appleby (2000) noted: “The facile invocation of religious symbols and stories can exacerbate ethnic tensions and foster a social climate conducive to riots, mob violence, or the random beatings and killings known as hate crimes” (p. 119). An example of hate prejudice is the increase in hate crimes toward those identified as Muslim after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks (Sheridan, 2006). This kind of prejudice is evident in Case Example 1. Suzy accuses her father of making derogatory remarks about his Latino employees, remarks that express hostility if not hatred (hate prejudice). His authori- tarian religious beliefs about needing to be a “strong” boss and father, and his need for a Chris- tian counselor who supports his authoritarianism, reinforce both threat and hostile forms of prejudice. The Psychology of Religion and Happiness

    As terror management theorists propose, the more people use their religious worldview and val- ues to ward off their terror of death, the more aggressively they will challenge groups that threaten their worldviews, sometimes going so far as to expe- rience such groups as evil (see Greenberg, Landau, Kosloff, & Solomon, 2009; Jones, 2002; see also Volume 1, Chapter 5, this handbook). Case Exam- ple 3 captures some of the complex ways religion contributes to hate prejudice. Roy believes that women should not seek ordination; he may also believe that women sexually tempt men to sin. Being deployed in Afghanistan may provoke a terror of

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    death for both Roy and Jasmine. Roy may react by challenging Jasmine for all of the ways she threatens his worldviews; indeed, he may see her as evil. The terror of death that Jasmine may experience in Afghanistan will be compounded by having some- one on her team who is no longer “watching her back” but rather is ready to stab her in the back. Jasmine experiences Roy’s hate prejudice as both life and soul threatening. She feels like Roy is desecrat- ing a sacred part of herself: her spiritual practices and religious vocation. The Psychology of Religion and Happiness

    These research findings and illustrations can help clinicians begin to conceptualize and thus assess the ways that their clients’ religion may contribute to or counteract self-affirming, threat, and hate prejudice. To elaborate on the complex ways that religion, spirituality, and prejudice are related, I will summa- rize research on how prejudice is related to one’s worldview and, specifically, one’s religious orienta- tion. Using this research, clinicians and supervisors can identify which religious orientations will likely contribute to or counteract prejudice. They can assess whether right-wing authoritarianism—the “toxic” element of religious orientations that makes religious people prejudiced—is part of a client’s or supervisee’s worldview. The Psychology of Religion and Happiness

    EMPIRICAL RESEARCH ON HOW RELIgIOuS ORIENTATIONS CONTRIBuTE TO PREJuDICE

    Allport (1954/1979, 1966) was the first psycholo- gist to explore the relationship between prejudice and two kinds of religious orientations: an intrinsic motivation for religion that is personally meaning- ful and an extrinsic motivation for religion that has external benefits (Allport & Ross, 1967). Initial empirical studies supported Allport’s theory that an extrinsic religious orientation correlates with higher levels of prejudice, whereas an intrinsic reli- gious orientation is associated with lower levels of prejudice (Batson, Schoenrade, & Ventis, 1993). Subsequent ways of conceptualizing intrinsic and extrinsic religious orientations included a third ori- entation of religion as a quest that values searching and questioning (Batson & Schoenrade, 1991a, 1991b; Batson et al., 1993). Extensive research has

    also focused on a fourth orientation, fundamental- ism, which is characterized as inflexible, close- minded convictions that one’s religious beliefs are absolutely true and must be followed. A fundamen- talist orientation involves an attitude toward one’s beliefs and not the content of one’s beliefs, and thus it can be used to describe any set of beliefs that are absolute and rigid (Altemeyer & Huns- berger, 1992). Clinicians may well find it daunting to use this extensive research on prejudice and religious orientation within an applied integrative paradigm for the psychology of religion and spiri- tuality. Several meta-analyses provide helpful over- views. In a meta-analysis of 16 North American studies between 1990 and 2005 that used measures of religious orientation (intrinsic, extrinsic, quest, and religious fundamentalism) and prejudice, Hun- sberger and Jackson (2005) found that the relation- ship between religious orientations and prejudice depends on whether particular kinds of prejudice, such as racism, are proscribed (i.e., explicitly opposed by one’s religious tradition or community) or nonproscribed (i.e., either endorsed or implicitly encouraged, such as heterosexism or benevolent sexism). In the 39 studies Hunsberger and Jackson (2005) analyzed that looked at religious fundamen- talism, they found that fundamentalism was posi- tively correlated with prejudice against sexual minority persons, Communists, women, and reli- gious out-groups, but it was not as clearly corre- lated across the board with prejudice toward racial minority persons (Batson et al., 1993; Hunsberger & Jackson, 2005). What is it about fundamentalist religious attitudes that make them more likely to contribute to prejudice? This is an important ques- tion for clinicians and one that has been recently researched. The Psychology of Religion and Happiness

    Research on Fundamentalism, Right-Wing Authoritarianism, and Prejudice Initial empirical research demonstrated that both religious fundamentalism and right-wing authoritar- ianism (RWA) are positively correlated with preju- dice (Altemeyer & Hunsberger, 1992; Hunsberger, Owusu, & Duck, 1999; Laythe, Finkel, Bringle, & Kirkpatrick, 2002). RWA has three components: submitting oneself to established authority, aggression

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    toward out-groups or deviants identified by the established authority, and conformity to traditions (conventionalism; Altemeyer, 1996, 2003). When Altemeyer and Hunsberger (1992) separated RWA from religious fundamentalism, they found, first, that prejudice was no longer correlated with reli- gious fundamentalism, and, second, that RWA was still significantly related to prejudice. Discussing similar findings, Laythe, Finkel, and Kirkpatrick (2001) proposed that religious fundamentalism might consist of two components: (a) RWA (which shapes the rigid and absolute way in which beliefs are held), which contributes to prejudice, and (b) Christian belief content, which does not contrib- ute to prejudice. These findings were corroborated by Rowatt and Franklin (2004).

    These findings suggest that clinicians will need to assess and address the toxic role of RWA with cli- ents whose religious beliefs contribute to prejudice. There is no research on how self-affirming, hate, or threat prejudice are related to these three compo- nents of RWA (i.e., submitting oneself to established authority, aggression toward out-groups or deviants identified by the established authority, and conven- tionalism). Clinicians could make some guesses about this. Using religion to support aggression, especially toward religious out-groups or deviants, may foster both hate and threat prejudice. For example, in the first scenario, Bill’s religious pater- nalism includes being aggressive toward his Latino employees. If his religious orientation includes RWA, he might defer to anti-immigration political and media authorities that view Latino immigrants as out-groups (the second component of RWA). Bill seems to hold these sentiments: He views employees as lazy and, perhaps, deviant. The Psychology of Religion and Happiness

    Another component of RWA, conformity toward traditions, could contribute toward self-affirming prejudice as well as prejudice that protects one’s religious tradition. This aspect of RWA may be part of Case Example 3, if Roy feels the need to conform to a religious tradition that identifies women as sex- ual temptresses and unsuitable for ordained minis- try. An Army psychologist counseling Jasmine might decide with her permission to consult with the chaplain’s office about helping team members explore moral dilemmas generated by conflicts

    between their religious beliefs and their duties of providing spiritual care (e.g., to gay or lesbian sol- diers). This intervention might help team members talk about what it is like when their religious beliefs and values are at odds with military policies against discrimination on the basis of gender, race, and sex- ual orientation. Team members can be encouraged to explore overarching common values, like team- work, spiritual care, and compassion, all of which support the mission of the military. Open dialogue will encourage team members to challenge the way that beliefs and behaviors like Roy’s sexism under- mine their common mission. Group work permits Jasmine to contribute to these discussions before using other channels to confront Roy. The Psychology of Religion and Happiness

    Research on the “toxic” role of RWA helps clini- cians evaluate whether a client’s religious funda- mentalism is contributing to prejudice. In spiritually integrated therapy (Pargament, 2007), clinicians can help clients identify beliefs, for example, in a loving God, that counteract their tendencies toward RWA and, hence, toward prejudice. Remembering that a client’s religious faith is dynamic, not static, clini- cians can use the metaphor of religion and spiritual- ity as a journey with pathways and destinations (Pargament, 2007; see also Volume 1, Chapter 1, this handbook). In the first scenario, a clinician could ally herself with Bill by empathizing with his goals to protect his daughter and his business. Then she could explore the origins of his hate and threat prejudice and also the religious journey that has made him value the destinations of being a “strong” father and boss. This exploration of his journey would help Bill feel understood. Then she could question whether Bill has other religious beliefs that offer alternative pathways to meet his goal of having strong relationships with his daughter and employ- ees. For example, he could identify the ways that he, Janice, their church community and God have worked together to make Suzy who she is. If he can experience the way he has collaborated with God in raising Suzy, he might be able to religiously cope with his fears about her safety by collaborating with a loving God who wants to let Suzy go her own way. Similarly, Bill could be asked to talk about the ways he tries to be a good boss with each of his employees as individuals. This conversation could encourage

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