Year

1987

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Department of Psychology

Abstract

A model for exploring religious experience in the everyday lives of people has been proposed, using personal construct theory (Kelly, 1955) as a theoretical base and source of methodology. One hundred and sixty three people participated in the exploration. They were interviewed about their religious background and current involvement in religious activities. The content and organisation of their constructs, in relation to the religious and secular aspects of their lives, were elicited using Repertory Grid and Implication Grid methods (Fransella & Bannister, 1977). Affective and interpersonal experience were assessed from content analyses of the participants' verbalisations about their lives. Religious constructs which were common within denominational groups were elicited from small groups of participants, using a Sociogrid technique (Shaw, 1980). Relationships between these dimensions of experience were hypothesised on the basis of the personal construct model. The results provided, not only support for the hypothesised relationships, but also validation for both a personal construct approach to human experience and the methodology adopted. The implications of the results for an understanding of religious experience, and also for the theory of personal constructs, have been discussed, together with implications for further research.

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