Utilizing Rizzuto (1979) and Lawrence's (1997) work, and responding to Sorenson's (2004) exhortation to qmind spirituality, q the present study measured changes in God images of graduate students in a religiously oriented master of arts program in spiritual direction and soul care over 3 years. It also replicated a recent study conducted by Craig Edwards (2006), who was measuring the same changes in God images for graduate students in a religiously oriented doctoral program in clinical psychology over the same 3-year period. The current study used the God Image Inventory (GII), developed by Lawrence (1997), to measure possible changes in how graduate students studying spiritual direction and soul care experience God over time. Twenty-nine students participated in this longitudinal study, completing the 27-item survey four times over a 3-year time span. The results showed a positive change over time for the group as a whole on two of the eight scales. These results suggest that the subjects' experience of God was encouraged over the course of their studies in two areas, namely, their experience of God's presence to them, and their experience of being able to have an influence on God. Possible explanations for these changes in the positive direction are explored, with emphasis being placed upon the content and emphases built into their course of study, as well as the mentoring environment which delivers and attempts to embody that curriculum. Additionally, some comparisons are made with C. Edwards' (2006) parallel study that showed a negative change over time across all eight scales of the GII. Most religiously oriented graduate programs in spiritual direction, ministry, and clinical psychology stress that the stated goals of their respective programs are to grow students in both their theoretical understanding and in their development of practical skills. Additionally, these programs also stress the importance of growing in one's relationship with God. The implications of the present study, especially when compared to Edwards' (2006) study, may require that graduate programs pay more careful attention to the spiritual needs of their students as they enter into and move through stated curricula and program requirements that, by their very nature, impact one's experience of and relationship to God. Further study in this area, and the use of formal control groups, are required in order to understand what variables contribute to changes of scores over time with these student populations enrolled in religiously oriented graduate programs.Twenty-nine students participated in this longitudinal study, completing the 27-item survey four times over a 3-year time span. The results showed a positive change over time for the group as a whole on two of the eight scales.
|Title||:||Minding and Measuring Changes in Graduate Students' God Images Across Three Years of a Religiously Based Program in Spiritual Formation|
|Publisher||:||ProQuest - 2008|