Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Study finds prayer can help handle harmful emotions

Those who choose to pray find personalized comfort during hard times, according to a University of Wisconsin-Madison sociologist.

The 75 percent of Americans who pray on a weekly basis do so to manage a range of negative situations and emotions — illness, sadness, trauma and anger — but just how they find relief has gone unconsidered by researchers.

Through the course of in-depth interviews with dozens of victims of violent relationships with intimate partners, Shane Sharp, a graduate student studying sociology at UW-Madison, gathered an array of ways prayer helped them deal with their situations and emotions through coping mechanisms such as venting. Sharp's interviewees represented a wide swath of the United States in geographic, educational and racial terms, and came largely from Christian backgrounds.

Those who were boiling with anger said they found "a readily available listening ear," says Sharp, who explores how prayer helps manage emotional pain in the December issue of the journal Social Psychology Quarterly.

"If they vented their anger to that abusive partner, the result was likely to be more violence," Sharp says. "But they could be angry at God while praying without fear of reprisal."

During any interpersonal interaction, the participants are considering how they look through the other's eyes. In the case of people who pray, they are considering God's view.


Source and More:
http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-prayer-emotions.html

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