Prayer May Dissipate the Feelings of Anger

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Recent research published online in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin concluded that saying a prayer may help people feel less angry and behave less aggressively. In the first of the series of 3 studies they: 1) told 53 college students they would be participating in a series of studies and gave them a questionaire to measure anger, fatigue, depression, vigor, and tension. The subjects then wrote an essay about an event that made them feel very angry and were told a partner whom they would never meet, would evaluate the essay. In reality, there was no partner and all subjects received the same anger inducing evaluation including the statement “This is one of the worst essays I have ever read.”
While still angry the subjects participated in a second part of the study in which they read a newspaper story about Maureen, a student with a rare form of cancer. They were asked to imagine how Maureen feels and how it affects her life. Thereafter, the subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups that either prayed for Maureen or thought about her for 5 minutes. After this the researchers again measured the subject’s anger, fatigue, depression, vigor and tension.
Findings showed that after subjects were provoked they reported higher levels of anger and those who prayed for Maureen reported being significantly less angry afterwards than those who thought about her. The researchers found no effect on the other emotions of depression, fatigue, vigor, or tension. Additional parts of the series of the study can be found at:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321134714.htm

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