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18 Pages

Why Believe? The Effects of Religious Beliefs on Emotional Well Being

The psychology of religion, spirituality and aging is increasingly data rich and unfortunately, increasingly theory poor. There has been a well-documented explosion in research on the effects of religiousness and spirituality on physical health and psychological well-being. A number of theories have been proposed to explain the beneficial effects of religiousness and spirituality. At the same time, we should be conscious of a larger goal to develop a viable theory that ties together explanations of both the positive and negative aspects of religiousness and spirituality that can be subjected to empirical verification. The idiographic approach to understanding religiosity and spirituality can be observed in Blieszner and Ramsey's qualitative work. Indeed, focusing on how lay persons view the constructs of religiosity and spirituality may significantly enrich our understanding and hence, strengthen our scientific investigations. New technologies that support longer, healthier lives are intersecting with new attitudes about possibilities for late life meaning and purpose.