Religious beliefs are generally recognized as a core dimension of religiousness, yet relative to other dimensions, such as religious behaviors or coping, surprisingly little research has focused explicitly on the roles that religious beliefs play in health, well-being and behavior. Further, although beliefs have both propositional and implicational dimensions (explicit versus implicit or head versus heart beliefs), very little research has focused on these distinct dimensions within the psychology of religion. Through a series of eight studies, the proposed project will develop a psychometrically sound self-report measure of implicit and explicit religious beliefs, including those regarding representations of God, beliefs about the afterlife, and beliefs about God's role in the world. We will use this new measure to examine important questions, including whether implicit and explicit dimensions of religious beliefs differentially correlate with aspects of religious background and upbringing, personality, thinking styles, and well-being. Studies will be conducted with both students and community members. Deliverables include a validated self-report measure and results from eight separate samples. Developing a way to validly assess both implicit and explicit dimensions of religious beliefs will open the door to many new avenues of research and ultimately lead to a greater understanding of how religious beliefs influence human behavior and functioning.
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