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Interpersonal Guilt, Spirituality, and Religiosity: An Empirical Investigation of Relationships

by Elizabeth J. Albertsen
The Wright Institute


The relationships between guilt and spirituality and religiosity were examined. The main hypothesis was that spirituality, measured by the Mysticism Scale (M-Scale) would be positively correlated with adaptive guilt, measured by the Test of Self-Conscious Affect (TOSCA), but negatively correlated with maladaptive interpersonal guilt, measured by the Interpersonal Guilt Questionnaire (IGQ-67). It was hypothesized that spiritual transcendence, measured by the Spiritual Transcendence Scale (STS), would be positively correlated with spiritual experience, measured by the M-Scale, and that spiritual transcendence would have a negative correlation with maladaptive interpersonal guilt.

There was not support for a significant relationship between spiritual experience and adaptive guilt. There was support for a negative relationship between spiritual experience and maladaptive interpersonal guilt. Strong positive correlations were found between spiritual experience and spiritual transcendence. There were mixed results regarding the relationship between spiritual transcendence and maladaptive interpersonal guilt. No support was found for a relationship between spirituality and subjective well-being. There was support for a positive correlation between religiosity and adaptive guilt. There was not support for a direct relationship between religiosity and maladaptive interpersonal guilt.

There was evidence of a positive relationship between adherence to religious creed and adaptive guilt, but there were mixed results for the relationship between adherence to creed and maladaptive interpersonal guilt. Subjective well-being did not have a significant relationship with adaptive guilt, but there was support for a negative correlation between subjective well-being and maladaptive interpersonal guilt. Post hoc analyses tested for confounds of age, gender, ethnic group, religious affiliation, experience of religion in the childhood home, and change of religious affiliation.

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The Mystical Core
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