Event Title

Parent-Child Relationships and Perceptions of God

Poster Number

51

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Merry Sleigh

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

Honors Thesis Committee

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.; Cheryl Fortner-Wood, Ph.D.; Dale Hathaway, M.Div., M.A.

Location

Richardson Ballroom

Start Date

22-4-2016 2:15 PM

End Date

22-4-2016 4:15 PM

Description

Sigmund Freud believed that people’s perceptions of God were a projection of their father figures, and recent theorists have argued that perceptions of God may instead be based on mother figures (Chou & Uata, 2011). In this study, I investigated whether adults’ feelings about their parents predicted their feelings about God. Participants were adults recruited through classrooms and social media. They responded to an online scale that assessed their cognitive and emotional perceptions of God (Halstead & Hautus, 2013). I use several items from this scale to also measure perceptions of the primary mother figure and the primary father figure for each participant. I created new questions for the survey to obtain demographic data, to determine whether each participant believes in God, to find out how much participants’ religious beliefs affect their lives, and to understand who participants consider to be their primary mother and father figures. Responses related to mother and father items were individually correlated with responses to God items in order to assess whether feelings about one or both parents were predictive of feelings about God. I hypothesized that participant thoughts and feelings about God would reflect perceptions of their parental figures; for example, I predicted that participants who “truly feel deeply and intensely valued by God” (Halstead & Hautus, 2013) would also feel deeply and intensely valued by one or both of their mother figures and father figures.

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Apr 22nd, 2:15 PM Apr 22nd, 4:15 PM

Parent-Child Relationships and Perceptions of God

Richardson Ballroom

Sigmund Freud believed that people’s perceptions of God were a projection of their father figures, and recent theorists have argued that perceptions of God may instead be based on mother figures (Chou & Uata, 2011). In this study, I investigated whether adults’ feelings about their parents predicted their feelings about God. Participants were adults recruited through classrooms and social media. They responded to an online scale that assessed their cognitive and emotional perceptions of God (Halstead & Hautus, 2013). I use several items from this scale to also measure perceptions of the primary mother figure and the primary father figure for each participant. I created new questions for the survey to obtain demographic data, to determine whether each participant believes in God, to find out how much participants’ religious beliefs affect their lives, and to understand who participants consider to be their primary mother and father figures. Responses related to mother and father items were individually correlated with responses to God items in order to assess whether feelings about one or both parents were predictive of feelings about God. I hypothesized that participant thoughts and feelings about God would reflect perceptions of their parental figures; for example, I predicted that participants who “truly feel deeply and intensely valued by God” (Halstead & Hautus, 2013) would also feel deeply and intensely valued by one or both of their mother figures and father figures.