A Relationship with God? Connecting with the Divine to Assuage Fears of Interpersonal Rejection

A Relationship with God? Connecting with the Divine to Assuage Fears of Interpersonal Rejection

By
Kristin Laurin, Karina Schumann, John G. Holmes
Social Psychological & Personality Science. September
2014, Vol. 5, Issue 7, Pages 777-785

We examine the possibility that people can leverage their “relationship” with God as a stand-in for interpersonal relationships. More specifically, we hypothesize that people will seek closeness with the divine when facing the threat of interpersonal rejection and that conversely, they will seek interpersonal closeness when facing the threat of divine rejection. We test this idea across four studies. Along the way, we test additional predictions derived from the close relationships literature, concerning the consequences of this process and the moderating role of self-esteem. Taken together, our findings add to the literature on God as a relationship partner and connect this idea to the dynamic ebb and flow of interpersonal connection.