Three studies examine the role of spirituality, specifically prayer for the partner, in the development of young adult relationships. In Study 1 ( N = 302) we examine longitudinal relationships to establish ordering over time; prayer for the partner predicted later relationship satisfaction but not vice versa. In Study 2 ( N = 191) we examine whether it is prayer for the partner or simply prayer in general that accounts for effects on satisfaction. We also establish that prayer for the partner accounts for unique variance in satisfaction beyond that contributed by positive and negative dyadic behavior. Finally, in Study 3 ( N = 360) we examine three plausible mediators of the impact of prayer for the partner on young adult relationships and find that increased commitment mediates the effect of prayer for the partner on relationship satisfaction. Results are interpreted as consistent with the view that prayer for the partner influences commitment by priming a longer–term perspective, a key developmental task in young adult relationships. Potential negative impacts of prayer and the need for experimental investigation are also discussed.
Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology – Guilford Press
Published: Apr 1, 2008
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