Studies on the Psychology of Religion: Christian Spirituality and Personal/Social Well-Being

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2024 | Viewed by 206

Special Issue Editor

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, Psychology of Religion Research Unit, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, 20123 Milano, Italy
Interests: psychoanalysis; psychology of religion; psychotherapy; social psychology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The psychology of religion does not study ‘religion in general’ but the way people relate to given culturally contextualized religious tokens (Vergote 1993).

This Special Issue focuses on the relations of Christian spirituality with both individual and social well-being, bearing in mind the multi-component nature of human well-being of which religious spirituality is only a part. The issue is expected to refer to Western society, which is largely steeped in Christian spiritual culture, but it may also deal with what happens when Christian spirituality encounters other non-Western cultures and—religious or non-religious—contexts. In many empirical studies, religious commitment was positively related to personal well-being. According to some, it promotes not only mental well-being, meaning in life and the afterlife, positive emotion, a sense of coherence and coping with situations of stress, anxiety or depression (Pargament 1997), but also physical health, e.g., minor morbidity and mortality, greater longevity, and less drug, tobacco and alcohol abuse (VanderWeele 2021). On the other hand, some report negative effects on the psyche such as dogmatism, superstition, obsession, guilt, delusion, etc.

Some questions on the results and methodology may naturally arise. What does ‘Christian spirituality’ for religious versus non-religious people mean? Are there any specific ways or conditions for positive vs. negative influences on well-being? Are there significant variations between different Christian confessions (Catholicism, Protestantism and Orthodoxy)? Could an individual religious orientation—intrinsic versus extrinsic—affect Christian spirituality? To what extent the correlation studies are reliable in this field? Is Christian coping different from non-religious personal coping?

According to some, religious spirituality influences pro-sociality and acts as a brake on prejudice and fundamentalism. Others highlight the danger of religious extremism and all its negative consequences. This contrast leads to the formulation of several questions: what constitutes ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ religion and spirituality? Specifically, how does Christian spirituality influence social and political democracy? And how does religion contribute to or counteract prejudice and discrimination? How effective is religion in social change? What is its contribution to education, healthcare, the workplace, etc?

Concerning methodological issues, besides the most widely used correlational research, different and diverse psycho-logical theories, perspectives and models are welcome, for example, those derived from clinical psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, psychoanalysis, attachment theory, etc.


Pargament, K. I. 1997. The psychology of religion and coping. New York: Guilford.

VanderWeele, T. J. 2021. Effects of religious service attendance and religious importance on depression: examining the meta-analytic evidence. The Inter-national Journal for the Psychology of Religion 31: 21–26.

Vergote, A. 1993. What the psychology of religion is and what it is not. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 3: 73–86

We are pleased to invite you to submit original research articles and reviews alike. Research areas may include (but not limited to) the following topics:

  • Christian spirituality and mental well-being;
  • Christian spirituality and physical well-being;
  • Christian spirituality in a changing society;
  • Christian spirituality in non-Western society

Interested authors, before submitting a full manuscript, are requested to send a proposed title and an abstract of 200-300 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send it to the Guest Editor, Prof. Dr. Mario Aletti ([email protected]). Abstracts will be reviewed by the Guest Editors to ensure proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo a double-blind peer review.

Tentative completion schedule:

Deadline for abstract submission: 15 April 2024

Deadline for full manuscript submission: 15 December 2024

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Mario Aletti
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Christian spirituality
  • subjective well-being
  • positive emotions
  • health-promoting
  • pro-sociality

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Tentative title 1: Mapping the Religiosity of the Maltese People: redefining the contours and charting the waters

Tentative title 2: Evangelical Patients’ religiosity in perceptions of Brazilian psychologists

Tentative title 3: Religion and coping with trauma in trauma therapy clients

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