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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Authenticity, inauthenticity, attachment, and God-image tendencies among adult evangelical Protestant Christians
by Davis, Edward B., Psy.D., Regent University, 2010, 560; 3400639
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the inter-relationships and predictive relationships among self-reported authenticity/inauthenticity (AI), attachment, and God-image tendencies, as experienced by adult evangelical Protestant Christians (EPCs) in their relationships with close others, other Christians, and God. Independent convenience samples of clinical and nonclinical participants were obtained, primarily through client recruitment at three Christian clinics and listsery recruitment at three Christian universities. After data screening, the clinical sample-size was 48; the nonclinical, 175; and the combined, 225. To be eligible for the study, participants had to be a self-described EPC, aged 18 or older, fluent in English, currently residing in the U.S., and meet EPC distinctives. When compared with the U.S. EPC population, each sample was representative of race/ethnicity and region of U.S. residence, and the nonclinical and combined samples were marginally representative of gender, marital/relationship status, and EPC denominational affiliation. Across samples, young-adult and highly educated persons were over-represented.

Via a web-based platform, participants completed self-report questionnaires—the Experiences in Close Relationships scale, Attachment to God Inventory, Authenticity Inventory-3, Silencing the Self Scale (an adapted version), False Self Scale (two adapted versions), and Religious Support Scale. One-tailed bivariate-correlation matrices revealed several intercorrelations (α = .01) among AI, attachment, and God-image tendencies, with mostly medium-to-large effect sizes (ESs). Regression tests (α = .01) also showed unique and collective predictive relationships between attachment and AI tendencies, again with mostly medium-to-large ESs. Attachment anxiety was generally most strongly and reliably associated with and predictive of AI tendencies at every level—global-dispositional, domain-specific with other Christians, and relationship-specific with God. Perceived religious support was most predictive of domain-specific AI tendencies. One-way MANOVAs (α = .01) revealed that, relative to nonclinical participants, clinical participants evidenced higher levels of global attachment anxiety, global attachment avoidance, attachment anxiety with God, global-dispositional inauthenticity, and domain-specific inauthenticity. Lastly, clinical participants showed stronger intercorrelations among their AI tendencies, and their attachment tendencies were more strongly predictive of their AI tendencies. Findings are discussed in connection with the extant literature, and clinical and pastoral-care implications are presented, along with study strengths and limitations and avenues for future research.

Keywords. authenticity, inauthenticity, attachment, God image, Christians

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Moriarty, Glendon L.
School: Regent University
School Location: United States -- Virginia
Source: DAI-B 71/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Psychology, Spirituality
Keywords: Attachment, Authenticity, Christians, Evangelical, God image, Protestant, Relationships
Publication Number: 3400639
ISBN: 978-1-109-67447-7
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