Rosemead School of Psychology

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Does God listen and respond to prayers? This project provided initial validation for a brief measure of perceived divine engagement and disengagement in response to prayer. As part of a larger project on religious/spiritual struggles among U.S. undergraduates, we used Sample 1 (n = 400) for exploratory factor analysis and Sample 2 (n = 413) for confirmatory factor analysis and initial validity testing. A two-factor model with four items per factor provided acceptable fit. On average, participants reported more divine engagement than disengagement. They endorsed items about God listening more than those about God responding. Divine engagement showed strong positive associations with religiousness and positive-valence variables involving God. Divine disengagement showed strong positive associations with variables suggesting divine struggle or distance. Importantly, both subscales also showed evidence of incremental validity: Divine engagement predicted positive-valence God variables (e.g., secure attachment, collaborative religious coping, gratitude to God, and awareness of God) even when controlling for religiousness and positive God concepts and attitudes. Divine disengagement predicted more spiritual struggles and more negative-valence and distance-related God variables (divine struggle, anxious and distant attachment, and self-directing religious coping) even when controlling for doubt about God’s existence, negative God images, anger/disappointment toward God, and concern about God’s disapproval. In short, this brief new measure shows promise as a tool to assess beliefs about God’s responsiveness to prayer.


religious and spiritual struggles; prayer; attachment to God; God concepts; religious coping

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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