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Religiousness and Perceived Childhood Attachment: On the Question of Compensation or Correspondence

Pehr Granqvist
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Vol. 37, No. 2 (Jun., 1998), pp. 350-367
DOI: 10.2307/1387533
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1387533
Page Count: 18
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Religiousness and Perceived Childhood Attachment: On the Question of Compensation or Correspondence
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Abstract

The present study investigated the opposing hypotheses, derived from attachment theory, of adult religiousness as compensating for or corresponding to the quality of childhood relationships with parents. Questionnaires containing measures of childhood attachment quality and one's own and parental religiousness were completed by 203 students at Uppsala University, Sweden. The results supported the compensation hypothesis in that insecure respondents, to a larger extent than secure respondents, reported an increase in importance of their religious beliefs during adulthood. In addition, insecure respondents who had experienced low parental religiousness were more religious, were more likely to perceive themselves as having a close relationship with God, expressed more theistic beliefs, and reported a higher level of religious change during adulthood, whereas secure respondents were agnostics to a larger extent. However, if parents had been highly religious, secure respondents generally scored higher on the religiousness variables than insecure respondents, indicating a higher congruence between parents' and respondents' religiousness in the secure groups and also giving support for the correspondence hypothesis. The usefulness of attachment theory for understanding religiousness in comparison to the predominant psychodynamic conceptualizations was discussed, and the question of compensation or correspondence was elaborated.

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