Predictors and outcomes of experiences deemed religious: A longitudinal investigation

C. Harry HUI, Wilfred W. F. LAU, Sing-Hang CHEUNG, Shu-Fai CHEUNG, Esther Yuet Ying LAU, Jasmine LAM

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Experiences deemed religious (EDRs) are events that a person regards as religious and/or supernatural. This study considered four such experiences—miraculous healing, glossolalia, unusual joy and peace during meditation or prayer, and prayer answered. We proposed a process model and conducted a longitudinal study to address three main research questions: (a) Who are more likely to have EDRs? (b) What effects would the experiences have on the person's subsequent spiritual and psychological conditions? (c) Are all EDRs alike? Findings suggest that EDRs can be predicted through certain common individual characteristics, such as vertical faith maturity (i.e., intimacy with the divine). However, there are also individual predictors that are EDR-specific. Regarding outcomes, the experience of unusual joy and peace during prayer and meditation heightens vertical faith maturity, motivates more religious practices, predicts better sleep quality at a later time, and perhaps improves quality of life. However, tongue speaking results in no change in any measured outcome variables. Neither does having prayers answered. Surprisingly, being healed from serious physical illness can have negative consequences. Results demonstrate that the EDRs should not be treated as the same when it comes to their antecedents and consequences. Copyright © 2015 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-129
JournalThe International Journal for the Psychology of Religion
Issue number2
Early online date01 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Hui, C. H., Lau, W. W. F., Cheung, S.-H., Cheung, S.-F., Lau, E. Y. Y., & Lam, J. (2015). Predictors and outcomes of experiences deemed religious: A longitudinal investigation. International Journal of the Psychology of Religion, 25(2), 107-129. doi: 10.1080/10508619.2014.916588.


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