Tina M. Toburen: Class of 2008

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Research on the relationship between religiosity and anxiety has been mixed, with some studies revealing a positive relation and other studies revealing a negative relation. The current research used an experimental design, perhaps for the first time, to examine anxiety and task persistence during a stressful situation. Christians and Atheists/Agnostics/Others were primed with God-related or neutral (non-God related) concepts before completing an unsolvable anagram task described as a measure of verbal intelligence. The results revealed that the God-related primes increased both task persistence and anxiousness, which suggests that experimentally induced God-related thoughts caused participants to persist longer on a stressful task, but also to feel more anxious after finishing it. No effect of religious affiliation was found, however, indicating that God-related priming affected Christians and non-Christians in a similar fashion.


This article is based upon the honors thesis of Tina Toburen while at Gettysburg College.

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