Religions2016, 7(5), 45; doi:10.3390/rel7050045 (registering DOI) - published 30 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper extends the reporting of contemporary use of the Spiritual Health and Life-Orientation Measure (SHALOM), which provides flexibility to researchers, enabling them to choose the version of the instrument that best suits the cohort under investigation. SHALOM was built on a solid theoretical foundation, provided by the Four Domains Model of Spiritual Health/Well-Being. It comprises 20 items that assess spiritual well-being, as reflected in the quality of relationships that each person has with themselves, others, the environment, and/or with God. Summary results are reported from 30 recent studies. SHALOM provides a unique form of assessment that is statistically stronger than just assessing lived experiences, in that spiritual harmony/dissonance is studied by comparing each person’s “lived experiences” with her/his “ideals” for spiritual well-being. SHALOM has been sought for use with hundreds of studies in 29 languages, in education, healthcare and wider community. A generic form of SHALOM was developed to expand the Transcendental domain to include more than God. However, recent studies have shown that relating with God is most important for spiritual well-being. The best version of SHALOM to assess spiritual well-being depends on the needs of the clients/participants and the project goals of the researcher. This will involve a selection between the original form of Spiritual Well-Being Questionnaire-SHALOM for comparison with other measures and investigation of characteristics influencing spiritual well-being; or the dissonance method for spiritual care; and either the original or the generic version of SHALOM for use with non-religious/secular participants.
Religions2016, 7(5), 44; doi:10.3390/rel7050044 - published 28 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The empirical properties of a revised 24-item instrument called the Thanissaro Scale of Attitude towards Buddhism (TSAB-R) designed to measure Buddhist affective religiosity are described. The instrument was tested on adolescents and teenagers in the UK. Discriminant validity of the instrument was found satisfactory in relation to Buddhist affiliation and content validity in relation to religious involvement with temple attendance, scripture reading, meditation, having had a religious or spiritual experience and religious style. Unlike Christians, for Buddhists, affective religiosity was found to vary independently from age and sex. The differential between heritage and convert religious style of Buddhism was linked to the perceived affective religiosity of the Buddhist features of the home shrine and bowing to parents. Factor analysis revealed two subscales within the instrument for intellectual and affective components. With confirmation of the validity and reliability of the revised scale, the instrument is commended for measurement of Buddhist affective religiosity with adults and children down to the age of 13 years.
Religions2016, 7(5), 43; doi:10.3390/rel7050043 - published 26 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The cinema of the Dardenne brothers represents a new kind of cinema, one that challenges a number of our conventional ways of thinking about the distinction between religion and secularism, belief and unbelief. Their films explore the intricacies of spiritual and ethical transformations as they are experienced within embodied, material life. These features of their cinema will be examined primarily through the lens of Emmanuel Levinas’s philosophy of the imbrication of the drama of existence and the ethical intrigue of self and Other. The work of the Dardenne brothers can be understood as an attempt to express what I describe as a “faith without faith”—a recognition of the absolute centrality of belief for the development of a responsible subject but in the absence of a traditional faith in a personal deity.
Religions2016, 7(5), 42; doi:10.3390/rel7050042 - published 26 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Introduction: Although many homebound older adults cope well using various resources, including religious coping strategies, some experience prolonged and unresolved psychosocial distress resulting in biological disruptions, such as hypercortisolism and increased inflammation, which are suggested mechanisms of decreased executive function. Purpose: To examine relationships of religious coping, psychosocial factors (stress, depression, loneliness), salivary biomarkers (cortisol, C-reactive protein (CRP), Interleukin-1β), and executive function. Methods: Data were collected cross-sectionally from 88 older adults (mean age 75.3). Religious coping, stress, depression, loneliness, and cognitive function were measured with standardized instruments, and saliva samples were collected for salivary cortisol, CRP, and IL-1β. Results: Negative religious coping significantly and positively correlated with stress, depression, and loneliness (r = 0.46, r = 0.21, r = 0.47, all p < 0.05); positive religious coping significantly and negatively correlated with depression and loneliness (r = −0.29, r = −0.23, both p < 0.05); and greater loneliness significantly predicted greater CRP (p < 0.05). For executive function, IL-1β showed a significant positive correlation (r = 0.23, p = < 0.05). Discussion: Our findings fill gaps related to biobehavioral interactions of religious coping and cognitive health in the aging population. Future research should include additional psychosocial and biobehavioral variables in larger samples of diverse and vulnerable populations. Collective findings may be able to identify particularly vulnerable subgroups of population, ultimately with tailored interventions to prevent cognitive decline.
Religions2016, 7(4), 41; doi:10.3390/rel7040041 - published 22 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Obesity treatment remains a high global priority. Evidence suggests holistic approaches, which include a religious element, are promising. Most research is from the USA, but recent evidence suggests a need within the UK population. The aim of this study is to explore the feasibility of running and evaluating a Christian-based, healthy, intuitive-eating programme, in a UK church. This is the protocol of a mixed-methods single-group feasibility study of a ten-week programme. The programme focuses on breaking the “diet and weight regain” cycle using principles from intuitive eating uniquely combined with biblical principles of love, freedom, responsibility, forgiveness, and spiritual need. We will recruit at least ten adult participants who are obese, overweight, or of a healthy weight with problematic eating behaviours. Participants can be from any faith or none. Robust measures of physical, psychological and spiritual outcomes will be used. Results are not yet available. Findings will be used to design a cluster-randomised controlled trial to test efficacy through many churches. If weight reduces by a small amount, there will be substantial benefits to public health. With a strong association between obesity and mental-ill health, a holistic intervention is particularly important. Using churches addresses religious and spiritual health, and uses existing social structures and a voluntary workforce that are sustainable and cost-effective.
Religions2016, 7(4), 40; doi:10.3390/rel7040040 - published 15 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The study evaluates a pilot course designed to respond to findings from the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) and similar findings reporting changes in U.S. life course development and religious participation through an intervention based on sociological theories of morality. The purpose of the study is to investigate the impacts of a business course in a public university designed to prepare emerging adults for culturally and religiously diverse workplaces. The intended outcomes are for students to better identify their personal moral values, while also gaining cultural awareness of the moral values in six different value systems: five major world religions and secular humanism. The study response rate was 97 percent (n = 109). Pre- and post-test survey data analyze changes in the reports of students enrolled in the course (primary group) compared to students in similar courses but without an emphasis on morality (controls). Qualitative data include survey short answer questions, personal mission statements, and student essays describing course impacts. Quantitative and qualitative results indicate reported increases in identification of personal moral values and cultural awareness of other moral values, providing initial evidence that the course helps prepare emerging adults for multi-faith workplaces.