Department of Psychology
Master of Arts
A study was designed to explore the developmental relationship between early childhood concepts of parent and more adult concepts of God. It attempted to identify the age at which absolute attributes such as omnipotence and ubiquity are taken away from parents and assigned to God. Based on both the theories of Freud and Piaget it was predicted that the transition will occur between the ages of four and eight. Forty children were administered an interview questionnaire and two short stories all of which depicted an attribute or characteristic which is traditionally viewed as being associated with God. Both techniques were of a projective nature. Subjects were divided according to age and sex and were from middle class home environments. Subject's responses to the techniques were divided into three categories: God, Parent, and Other. Data from the questionnaire were analyzed by means of a two-way analysis of variance for each category: God, Parent, and Other with age and sex as independent variables. Data for the stories were analyzed for each story by a 3 X 2 chi-square test for categories God, Parent, and Other with the age groups being (4 & 5) and (6 & 7). Results for the questionnaire indicated that the data supports the hypothesis that absolute characteristics of protection, omnipotence, and ubiquity are reassigned from Parent to God between ages 4 and 7. Since the present study was largely exploratory in nature, a number of procedural and methodological controls which need to be added are discussed.
Psychology | Religion
Feeley, Dennis, "Development of the God Concept in Children: An Exploratory Study" (1976). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 998.