Exploring Christians' Explicit Attachment to God Representations: The Development of a Template for Assessing Attachment to God Experiences (Report) by Journal of Psychology and Theology

Book Review : Exploring Christians' Explicit Attachment to God Representations: The Development of a Template for Assessing Attachment to God Experiences (Report)

By Journal of Psychology and Theology

  • Publication Date: 2009-12-22
  • Genre: Religion & Spirituality

Book Review

Assessment of attachment to God (ATG) has generally focused on tapping the construct via self-report measures. Little, if any attention has been paid to assessing ATG via independent ratings of Christians' relationship with God narratives, obtained at interview. The current study addressed this deficit. It documents the development of a template for assessing Christians' relationship with God narratives for specific ATG experiences. Three theoretically-derived ATG profiles, labeled as secure-autonomous, insecure-anxious/preoccupied and insecure-dismissing ATG were operationally defined as a series of relational markers. Thirty-one Christians participated in a God Attachment Interview Schedule (GAIS), a semi-structured interview which taps Christians' past and present relationship with God experiences. Participants' narratives were analyzed using the template, this revealing relational evidence supportive of the hypothesized relational markers. Validation of the template is an important milestone in the development of a scoring protocol to assign an overall ATG profile based on the narrated experiences of Christians. Being in relationship with God is at the heart of the Christian experience (Stark & Glock, 1968). Scripture attests that God is essentially a personal God who desires to relate to His people (Psalm, 27; Isaiah, 49: 15, 64: 8). In turn God's people are called to love the Lord God and to love their neighbor as themselves (Matthew 22:37-39). Even Creation itself is portrayed as a relational act, with White (1984) noting imago Dei is essentially "a relational concept, which calls human beings to exist in a special relationship with God" (White, 1984, p.286). White further suggests that the aspect of the imago Dei that survived The Fall was 'humankind's need and desire for relationships", and that relationship with God was "not something to be possessed but a relationship in which to exist" (White, 1984, p.286, 287).

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