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Religion, the body and eating: The lived experiences of religious individuals as a believer, through the body, and of eating
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, The Social Sciences of Religion, Psychology of Religions.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between the individual’s relationship with God, body image, eating attitudes and eating behaviors amongst religious individuals in Sweden. This study is designed as a qualitative research study. The empirical data is collected via eight semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions in order to understand the individual’s lived experiences as a believer, through the body, and of eating. The sample consisted of both religiously and ethnically heterogeneous individuals living in Sweden (Male=3, Female=5, Age 22-40). The theory used for the data analysis is mainly attachment theory, which has the evolutionary origins of the attachment system and its manifestation in child – caregiver relationship. This theory is applied to religiosity by assuming that the individual’s close relationship with a personal God is an attachment relationship. Complementarily, a set of theoretical perspectives on the body - Grosz’s (1994) application of Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological approach to the body and Bell’s (1992) ritualization theory – are also used for the analysis. Further, an acculturation perspective is used in order to explore cultural contexts, in which the respondents are situated. The results show that multiple factors have influences on the respondents’ past and current body images, attitudes towards the body, eating attitudes and behaviors. However, faith in, and relationships with God are identified as one of the most important and influential factors for their body images, attitudes towards the body, eating attitudes and behaviors except one respondent, whose case is not fit in the result. The results indicate that positive attachment relationships with God/other super natural figures can play a role in the establishment and maintenance of positive body image as well as problem free eating behaviors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 82 p.
Keyword [en]
Attachment to God/other supernatural figures, body image, eating behaviors, psychological acculturation
National Category
Religious Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-194147OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-194147DiVA: diva2:604405
Subject / course
Psychology of religion
Educational program
Master Programme in Theology and Religious Studies
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2013-02-13 Created: 2013-02-10 Last updated: 2013-02-13Bibliographically approved

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