Attachment and God representations among lay Catholics, priests, and religious: a matched comparison study based on the Adult Attachment Interview
2008 (English)In: Developmental Psychology, ISSN 0012-1649, E-ISSN 1939-0599, Vol. 44, no 6, 1753-1763 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Based on the idea that believers' perceived relationships with God develop from their attachment-related experiences with primary caregivers, the authors explored the quality of such experiences and their representations among individuals who differed in likelihood of experiencing a principal attachment to God. Using the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI), they compared attachment-related experiences and representations in a group of 30 Catholic priests and religious with a matched group of lay Catholics and with the worldwide normal distribution of AAI classifications. They found an overrepresentation of secure-autonomous states regarding attachment among those more likely to experience a principal attachment to God (i.e., the priests and religious) compared with the other groups and an underrepresentation of unresolved-disorganized states in the two groups of Catholics compared with the worldwide normal distribution. Key findings also included links between secure-autonomous states regarding attachment and estimated experiences with loving or nonrejecting parents on the one hand and loving God imagery on the other. These results extend the literature on religion from an attachment perspective and support the idea that generalized working models derived from attachment experiences with parents are reflected in believers' perceptions of God.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 44, no 6, 1753-1763 p.
Adult Attachment Interview, Catholic, God image, internal working models, religion
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-101204DOI: 10.1037/a0013772ISI: 000260930300018PubMedID: 18999336OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-101204DiVA: diva2:212048