Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Theology

The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion

Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Theology

The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion

Article excerpt

THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR THE PSYCHOLOGY OF RELIGION

Nielsen, M. E., & Williams, J. (2009).

Religious orientation, personality, and attitudes about human stem cell research

Vol. 19, 81-91

Debates about stem cell research are a relatively hot topic today. The question is whether human stem cells, which are commonly harvested from frozen embryos that are discarded after in-vitro fertilization, can be used to do research and treat disease. The main issue of contention is when life begins and how sacred to hold it. In order to better understand people's opinions on this issue, Nielsen and Williams devised a study to examine some of the potentially influential characteristics in forming such opinions.

One hundred and fifty-one undergraduate students were given extra credit to participate in the study. The students were all taking general psychology courses at a large university in the southeast United States. They were mostly female (n = 123) and ranged in age from 18 to 39 (M = 20). All of the participants were Christian, mostly identifying with a Baptist denomination (48%). The majority was Caucasian (60%); a large minority was African American (35%).

Each participant completed a number of questionnaires covering their attitudes on stem cell research, their personalities (i.e. need for uniqueness, locus of control, and need for cognitive closure), and their faith (i. …

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