Psykologisk Institut

Dorthe Berntsen

Cultural Life Scripts Across Religions: The Influences of Religion on Expectations of Life Events

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Cultural life script (CLS) represents culturally shared expectations of the order and timing of important life events and guide the way we remember our lives. It is influenced by factors such as culture, gender, and age. However, the effects of religion on CLS are still under-investigated. Here, we examined the life scripts of followers of five world religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism). Across religions, the majority of the CLS events were regarded by the participants as positive, important, and prevalent and, further, were expected to occur in early life. There were significant effects of religion on importance and valence of CLS. In addition to a dominance of events from young adulthood, we found an unusually high frequency of events occurring within the first decade of life across all religions, many of which were construed as religious events. Differences in content and characteristics of some CLS events were also identified, predicated on religious teachings. Religiosity was positively related to importance and valence of CLS, as well as a number of religion-related events that participants included in their CLSs. Age and gender had marginal effects on CLS. Overall, the findings suggest surprising homogeneity in CLS across religions, despite notable variations.
TidsskriftPsychology of Religion and Spirituality
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 2020

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