Assessing Reverence in Contexts: A Positive Emotion Related to Psychological Functioning


Deeply rooted in Western and Eastern civilization, reverence is a cardinal virtue that embraces meaning and purpose in life. It is also a self-transcending positive emotion, associated with specific worldviews that may determine the context in which an individual senses it. To date, few psychological studies have addressed this concept. To address the gap, we drew two different study samples to validate a contextualized Sense of Reverence scale (SOR). Capitalizing on the cardiac data of older patients, Study I extended the validation of the twofold scale, reverence in religious and secular contexts (R- and S-reverence), by correlating it with measures of general religiousness and positive attitudes. Study II confirmed the structure and further validated the scale in healthy Canadian and U.S. students. Using structural equation modeling, Study II evaluated differential associations of R- and S- reverence. S-reverence was related to spiritual support from nontraditional sources, a belief in death as a natural end, and psychological functioning connected with growth, as indicated by openness, creativity, and personal growth. R-reverence was associated with spiritual support from traditional sources, a belief in a rewarding afterlife, and psychological functioning connected with adjustment, as indicated by agreeableness, conscientiousness, and personal adjustment. Both forms of reverence were positively related to self-transcendence.



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Journal of Humanistic Psychology



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