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Call for papers: Conference on Integrating Genetics and the Social Sciences, Oct 21-22, 2016, CU-Boulder

PRB training program in policy communication for pre-docs. Application deadline, 2.28.2016

Call for proposals: PSID small grants for research on life course impacts on later life wellbeing

PSC News, fall 2015 now available

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Monday, Feb 1 at noon, 6050 ISR-Thompson
Sarah Miller

Patterns of Change in Prayer Activity, Expectancies, and Contents During Older Adulthood

Publication Abstract

Hayward, R. David, and Neal Krause. 2013. "Patterns of Change in Prayer Activity, Expectancies, and Contents During Older Adulthood." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 52(1): 17-34.

Prayer is the most common form of religious practice and a central part of religious experience, yet little is known about whether individuals' prayer activities and beliefs tend to remain stable or develop over the life course. This study examines change during the course of older adulthood in a range of dimensions of prayer, including total frequency of private prayer, specific beliefs and expectancies regarding prayer, and the contents of prayers. Data come from four waves of an ongoing longitudinal survey of Christian older adults, covering a period of seven years. Growth curve analysis was used to model patterns of within-person change in these factors. Linear increase was observed in total prayer frequency and in beliefs about prayer emphasizing placing trust in God over expecting immediate rewards. Frequency of prayer increased for all types of prayer contents, including prayers for others, for God's will, in thanksgiving, for guidance, for health, and for material goods. Only the belief that one's prayers are answered remained stable during the course of the study. Results highlight the dynamic nature of prayer beliefs and behaviors in late life, and partially support a pattern of growing faith maturity.

DOI:10.1111/jssr.12014 (Full Text)

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