Date of Award
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
This study investigated the correlation among measures of concept of God, ambivalence, and spiritual well-being in members of a Baptist General Conference and a Unitarian Universalist Association congregations. Ambivalence is considered to have three manifestations; the simultaneous expression of opposite affect, emotional constriction, and indecision. While this condition is assumed to be present in several crucial developmental stages, and is especially apparent in relation to one's parents, this study argues through psychological and Biblical data that there is also an unrecognized ambivalence in relation to God. Parental ambivalence influences one's relationship with his or her parents and also influences one's concept or perceptions of those parents. It is likewise argued that ambivalence toward God has a similar effect, namely, that if one is ambivalent toward God there should be a corresponding variation in one's concept of God and one's relationship with God. While the correlational nature of this study does not allow for cause-effect influences, this is a pioneer study of the possible relationship of these variables. Fifty-one Unitarians from the First Unitarian Church (Unitarian Universalist Association) and 46 Baptists from Temple Baptist Church (Baptist General Conference), both of Portland, Oregon completed a demographic questionnaire, the Intense Ambivalence Scale, the Spiritual Well-Being Scale, and the Conceptualization of God as Seen in Adjective Ratings. Results showed that Baptists scored higher on Religious Well-Being, and described God in more traditional terms than the Unitarians. There was no significant difference on Existential Well-Being or the Intense Ambivalence Scale. A surprising result is that Baptists described God as potently passive. The only relationship that was confirmed among the scales was the relationship between SWB and the COG. Ambivalence was not significantly related to the other two instruments. While there are aspects of ambivalence stressed in this study which are not measured by the Intense Ambivalence Scale it appears that ambivalence as measured by this scale may be a constant variable irrespective of denomination. This is in need of further investigation as are other aspects of ambivalence such as emotional constriction and indecision. The nature, etiology, incidence and consequences of viewing God as potently passive are also in need of additional research.
Lewis, Gregory G., "The Correlations Among Ambivalence, One's Concept of God, and Spiritual Well-Being as Measured on Two Diverse Religious Groups" (1986). Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). 353.