Written prayers in a pediatric hospital: Linguistic analysis

Daniel H. Grossoehme, Rhonda VanDyke, C. Jeffrey Jacobson, Sian Cotton, Judith R. Ragsdale, Michael Seid
2010 Psychology of Religion and Spirituality  
Previous research suggests that written prayers have linguistic characteristics similar to written emotional self-disclosures, and may also confer their health benefits. This study's aim was to test that hypothesis in a clinical setting; a secondary aim was analysis of prayer content. Written prayers in a pediatric hospital chapel were collected (N ϭ 800). Linguistic analysis provided the percentages of word types previously associated with health benefits. Prayers written in this clinical
more » ... ng do not share linguistic characteristics of written emotional disclosures. These petitionary/ intercessory prayers have a significant amount of positive emotion words; more words of causality than insight; and are frequently specific about desired outcomes. The prayer language suggests that the writers expect some result from the Deity or other readers of the prayer book. Prayers written in pediatric and adult settings differ in some respects. Clinical implications and future directions are discussed.
doi:10.1037/a0020035 fatcat:w6a66qem5fftzlnc43rvbjcite