Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Rodger K. Bufford

Second Advisor

William C. Buhrow

Third Advisor

Sarah Hopkins


Research has indicated that anxiety is the most prevalent of all psychological disorders, affecting up to 30 million people in the United States at some point during their lives (Lepine, 2002). It has also been determined that anxiety may be a fairly stable trait that people experience. Some people are more likely to experiencing anxiety than others, and for those who are more likely it is also more difficult to stop having anxiety. Predictors of anxiety have been identified and include such items as: low self-esteem, ineffective social support, high education, low religiosity (Hovey & Magana, 2002), low vocational satisfaction (Knox, Virginia, & Lombardo, 2002), female gender (Fergusson, Swain-Campbell, & Horwood, 2002), and family history of anxiety (Frazier, 2001). The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between anxiety and spirituality in order to provide a basis for further research and to lead to the development of additional strategies to help individuals cope with, and manage anxiety levels.

For this current study a convenience sample of undergraduate and graduate college students from a private Pacific Northwest university were surveyed. Both men (n=2 5) and women (n=63 ) were surveyed. A demographic questionnaire, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, the Spiritual Practices scale, and the Spiritual Well-Being scale were administered. The hypotheses stated that, firstly, Christian Spiritual Practices would be significantly negatively correlated with the level of both Trait and State Anxiety. Secondly, that Spiritual Well-Being would be significantly negatively correlated with both the level of Trait and State Anxiety. And thirdly, that there would be a significant positive correlation between Spiritual Well-Being and Christian Spiritual Practices. Results of the study indicate that all of the hypotheses were fully supported and that there is indeed a strong negative correlation between the level of Anxiety an individual experiences and the specific types of Spiritual Practices and level of Spiritual Well-Being exhibited. Additionally, a strong positive correlation between Spiritual Well-Being and Christian Spiritual Practices was also evidenced. Currently the most widely used treatment modalities for lowering symptoms of anxiety include psychotherapy, pharmacological treatment, or a combination of the two. These can be extremely beneficial in providing symptom relief and changing the individuals' beliefs, roles, or expectations. However, in light of the strong findings of this research, it may be advantageous for clinicians to begin thinking outside of the box in their treatment of individuals suffering from severe anxiety. Encouraging Christian spiritual practices in particular, and possibly other spiritual practices, may also prove effective in reducing anxiety. These may provide an important ancillary treatment to psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy.

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