Date of Award
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology
There are certain virtues or character strengths that promote well-being in a person’s life. Positive psychology research has examined these characteristics, but not within spiritual and religious contexts. It has been demonstrated that involvement in religious life contributes to overall well-being. There is an absence of research examining the influence of spirituality on positive psychology variables. Within the Christian tradition, grace is considered to be a catalyzing element which leads to transformation in the Christian’s character and relationships. It was hypothesized that a successful grace intervention within a Christian faith community would lead to increases in the awareness and enactment of grace, spiritual well-being, gratitude, emotional well-being, and marital satisfaction. It was further hypothesized that a grace intervention within a marital context would lead to greater increases in the observed variables, since marriage provides a special context within which to increase in these variables. Two Friends (Quaker) congregations participated as intervention and wait-list control groups in a 6-week grace intervention. Between groups ANOVAs revealed significant difference in participants Dimensions of Grace Scale (DGS) scores, but not on any other variable. Marriage appeared to be a variable that played a role in participants’ DGS score increases. Within groups analyses also revealed significant change in the intervention group on DGS scores. Marital status was a significant covariate. The grace intervention is a useful method to increase a person’s awareness of grace, and being married may provide a crucible for growing in grace, however small sample size and ceiling effects confounded the findings. Future research, then could examine more closely the impact of marital status on change, use a clinical sample, and apply the intervention to different Christian traditions.
Moody, Jeff A., "The Effects of a Grace Intervention in a Christian Congregation: A Study of Positive Psychology in the Church" (2015). Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). 194.