The mind of the Lord: Measuring authoritarian and benevolent God representations

Kathryn Johnson, Morris A. Okun, Adam Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many religious individuals use ordinary social cognitions when thinking about God's characteristics. In the absence of a generally accepted measure, we developed a measure assessing God representations as authoritarian (A-God) and benevolent (B-God) using 4 community samples of Christians. Using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis (Studies 1 and 2), we found support for a 2-factor model. The 2-week test-retest reliability estimates were .78 and .81 (Study 3). In Study 4, we validated our new measure. B-God was associated with a secure attachment style, whereas A-God was not associated with attachment style. B-God was positively associated with agreeableness and conscientiousness, whereas A-God was negatively associated with agreeableness. Controlling for personality and other God representation measures, the A-God subscale predicted the value of power, and the B-God subscale predicted the value of benevolence. The usefulness of the measure for future research is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-238
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology of Religion and Spirituality
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

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Beneficence
Reproducibility of Results
Cognition
Statistical Factor Analysis
Personality
Thinking
Power (Psychology)
Deity
God Representation

Keywords

  • God concept
  • God image
  • God representation
  • religious beliefs
  • values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Religious studies

Cite this

The mind of the Lord : Measuring authoritarian and benevolent God representations. / Johnson, Kathryn; Okun, Morris A.; Cohen, Adam.

In: Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, Vol. 7, No. 3, 01.08.2015, p. 227-238.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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