Immersing the Self: The Role of Jewish Mikvah in Wellbeing, Resilience, and Everyday Suffering

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Description
Immersion (tevillah) in a special pool of water (mikvah) is an ancient Jewish ritual act of purification. Rumors of personal healing through mikvah immersion are often presented as Jewish folklore or urban legends. Yet, my research shows that a surprising

Immersion (tevillah) in a special pool of water (mikvah) is an ancient Jewish ritual act of purification. Rumors of personal healing through mikvah immersion are often presented as Jewish folklore or urban legends. Yet, my research shows that a surprising percentage of immersing respondents –both Orthodox and non-orthodox— have experienced mikvah immersion as either spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, or physically healing. My study investigates what it means to experience mikvah as healing; and whether these experiences correlate with other attitudes and personal practices that signal patterns in how Jews think about Self, purity, wellbeing, and healing. I conducted a survey (N=283) and 34 in-depth interviews in the United States, and an additional survey (N=239) in the United Kingdom –to determine how relevant the U.S. findings could be for the aspiring mikvah organization, Wellspring UK, that plans to incorporate mikvah as a central modality of care in a center for wellbeing in London. I interpret these findings through a ritual ecological analysis –integrating embodiment, ritual studies, history, and religious studies— that centers participants’ sensory-emotional descriptions of their immersion as centering and affirming, in the midst of personal suffering. I then seek to understand how immersers interpret these sensory experiences by framing their mikvah stories in the historical context of new conceptual constructs about body, self, wellbeing, healing, and purity that emerged from multiple Jewish engagements with the American Great Awakening (1960-1990). That sensory experiences of centering and affirmation are identified as healing reflects a holistic self-concept, observed among the majority of participants –immersers and non-immersers alike. Specifically, the contemporary Jewish self is a holistic body-self, integrating physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological, and relational aspects. Such holism means that upset in one aspect of the self produces difficulties in one or more of the other aspects. Thus, maintaining one’s sense of wellbeing requires continual balancing and rebalancing, a self-making project that dovetails with respondents’ high value for an emergent ideal of spiritual purity, defined as the alignment of one’s inner values with one’s outer speech and actions. Together, wellbeing and spiritual purity constitute an ideal state of radical shalom, as experienced during healing mikvah immersions.
Date Created
2024
Agent

The Exploration of Mental Health Views Within Islam and the Somali Culture Including Views on: Evil Eye, Jinn or Sihr, and Religiosity

Description
Mental health perceptions within the Somali community are shaped by cultural, educational, geographical, and religiosity factors. This study aimed to explore the mental health views of Somalis in Somalia and those in the United States, considering the influence of

Mental health perceptions within the Somali community are shaped by cultural, educational, geographical, and religiosity factors. This study aimed to explore the mental health views of Somalis in Somalia and those in the United States, considering the influence of culture and religion. A comprehensive survey was conducted, and data from 44 participants were analyzed using paired t-tests and correlations. Results revealed diverse beliefs among participants, with some attributing distress to spiritual causes like possession by Jinn or punishment by Allah, while others viewed it as a result of loss of faith or biological factors. Despite limitations such as a small sample size and recruitment challenges, the study contributes to understanding the views of an understudied group. Future research should focus on longitudinal studies to address the changing mental health views as well as the needs within the Somali community.
Date Created
2024-05
Agent

Framing Firearm Suicide: The Firearm Suicide Crisis in Online Political Discourse in the United States

Description
This thesis examines the discourse on firearm suicide in the United States, focusing on the contrasting narratives of gun rights and gun control advocacy groups. It analyzes how these groups use rhetorical, visual, and linguistic strategies to shape public perception

This thesis examines the discourse on firearm suicide in the United States, focusing on the contrasting narratives of gun rights and gun control advocacy groups. It analyzes how these groups use rhetorical, visual, and linguistic strategies to shape public perception and policy discussions about the link between gun ownership and suicide rates. The study highlights the role of digital media in amplifying these divergent narratives, revealing a polarized discourse that simplifies the complexities of firearm suicide. The findings advocate for a more nuanced approach to the public and policy dialogue, aiming to foster more effective suicide prevention strategies.
Date Created
2024-05
Agent

Helping or Hurting: The Effects of Leaving Religion on Well-being

Description
For centuries, religion has been a part of people's lives, impacting their well-being. Well-being includes both positive and negative emotions that make people feel satisfied. Religion can affect how people handle their physical health, social behavior, support, and stress. Interestingly,

For centuries, religion has been a part of people's lives, impacting their well-being. Well-being includes both positive and negative emotions that make people feel satisfied. Religion can affect how people handle their physical health, social behavior, support, and stress. Interestingly, more people have been abandoning religion since 1990, even though it has positive effects on well-being. In this study, I sought to understand the extent to which leaving religion is associated with all aspects of well-being, including spiritual well-being. I asked 606 Arizona State University undergraduates to rate their well-being from two different time periods in their life. Participants were first asked if they were currently religious or nonreligious;135 said they had left/changed religions. If participants indicated that they did not leave/change religions, they were asked about their well-being before and after starting at ASU. I examined perceived change in well-being to understand how religion can influence many aspects of an individual’s life. Leaving or changing religion was positively associated with well-being. Those who reported leaving religion reported better environmental, emotional, social, educational, occupational, and spiritual well-being. In the control group (ASU), educational and spiritual well-being had a significant increase, which is interesting. The results showed that changing/leaving religion had a positive association on well-being.
Date Created
2023-12
Agent

The Role of Jury Instructions and its Effect on Christian and Jewish Jurors’ Beliefs on the Sentencing Verdict of Inchoate Crimes

Description
Past studies have supported that religion plays a role in how people engage in moral psychological processes, specifically regarding a person’s thoughts versus their actions. It is important to look at how religion can play a role in the sentencing

Past studies have supported that religion plays a role in how people engage in moral psychological processes, specifically regarding a person’s thoughts versus their actions. It is important to look at how religion can play a role in the sentencing of inchoate crimes, since they are crimes that have not yet been completed involving thought. It is a current practice that lawyers and judges may include or exclude a juror based on their religious affiliation due to their assumption that their religion will play a role in their decision making. However, this current practice is based on assumption and there is limited research to support that this practice is actually effective. To address this gap in the literature, I looked at the role of religion when individuals are presented with jury instructions, and asked participants to make judgements about inchoate crimes. There was an overall significant main effect of religion on sentencing decisions of inchoate crimes, and there was no significant interaction of jury instructions and religion on sentencing decisions. The results of this study indicate that the practice of excluding jurors based on religion may actually be effective and that jury instructions do not mitigate these religious biases.
Date Created
2023-12
Agent

Religious Fundamentalism and Racial and Sexual Prejudice:
Comparing Religious Fundamentalism Scale and Intratextual Fundamentalism Scale

Description

Many studies indicate a positive relationship between fundamentalism and sexual and racial prejudice. Many of these studies use the Religious Fundamentalism Scale (RFS), the Attitudes Towards Homosexuals Scale (ATHS) and the Manitoba Scale. However, there appears to be overlap between

Many studies indicate a positive relationship between fundamentalism and sexual and racial prejudice. Many of these studies use the Religious Fundamentalism Scale (RFS), the Attitudes Towards Homosexuals Scale (ATHS) and the Manitoba Scale. However, there appears to be overlap between RFS and both ATHS and the Manitoba Scale, unaddressed by the literature. This study looked at possible overlaps between RFS and ATHS and between RFS and the Manitoba Scale that could inflate the correlation statistic of fundamentalism and sexual and racial prejudice. The Intratextual Fundamentalism Scale (IFS), a study without authoritarian or apparent prejudice-overlapping items, was also tested for overlap. Results showed two-factor structures—namely fundamentalism and prejudice—with only two items loading to the opposite factor. However, there were many near-zero item loadings. The discussion suggests ways to change these items to increase factor loadings and to change overall measures construct validity. The correlations between fundamentalism and sexual prejudice were not significant before modifying the measures and were small and negative after modifying (modifying measures means removing all crossloaded and near-zero loaded items). The modified fundamentalism and sexual prejudice measures correlations do not follow the literature. This may be due to the sample including sexual orientation minorities and a majority of atheist, agnostic, or ‘nothing in particular’ affiliations. The correlations between fundamentalism and racial prejudice were medium and positive before modifying and were small and positive after modifying. This falls in line with the literature of small and medium positive correlation statistics.

Date Created
2023-05
Agent

Accuracy in Spotting Misinformation about COVID-19: A Pilot Intervention and the Role of Political Affiliation

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Description

In the past year, considerable misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic has circulated on social media platforms. Faced with this pervasive issue, it is important to identify the extent to which people are able to spot misinformation on social media and

In the past year, considerable misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic has circulated on social media platforms. Faced with this pervasive issue, it is important to identify the extent to which people are able to spot misinformation on social media and ways to improve people’s accuracy in spotting misinformation. Therefore, the current study aims to investigate people’s accuracy in spotting misinformation, the effectiveness of a game-based intervention, and the role of political affiliation in spotting misinformation. In this study, 235 participants played a misinformation game in which they evaluated COVID-19-related tweets and indicated whether or not they thought each of the tweets contained misinformation. Misinformation accuracy was measured using game scores, which were based on the correct identification of misinformation. Findings revealed that participants’ beliefs about how accurate they are at spotting misinformation about COVID-19 did not predict their actual accuracy. Participants’ accuracy improved after playing the game, but democrats were more likely to improve than republicans.

Date Created
2021-05
Agent

“Forgive Me Father”: A Look at Trust Engagement Within Catholic Confession

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Description
Catholic confession is one of the most practiced and well-known religious acts in the world. Although Catholic confession has proven to be an important component in the lives of millions of people, little research has been conducted exploring trust engagement

Catholic confession is one of the most practiced and well-known religious acts in the world. Although Catholic confession has proven to be an important component in the lives of millions of people, little research has been conducted exploring trust engagement within Catholic confession or the variables that affect one’s willingness to confess. The purpose of this study was to examine Catholic confession and find whether variables such as perception of the sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, ability, benevolence, and integrity of the priest, Catholic Church, and pope, propensity to trust, trust, and intrinsic religiosity have a significant relation with one’s willingness to confess. This study was conducted through a series of anonymous questionnaires, including two measures that were created for the purpose of this study—the Sex Abuse Perception Measure and Willingness to Confess Measure. Linear regressions and correlations were used to analyze relation between variables. Results revealed that the perception one has of the sexual abuse within the Catholic Church is significantly related to the perceived ability, benevolence, and integrity for a priest, Catholic Church, and the pope. Additionally, ability and benevolence had a moderate positive relation with trust in a priest and the pope and benevolence and integrity had a moderate positive relation with trust in the Catholic Church. Surprisingly, there were no significant relations between propensity to trust and trust in the priest, Catholic Church, or the pope. Similarly, there were no significant relations between trust in the priest, Catholic Church, or the pope and one’s willingness to confess. Intrinsic religiosity did have a positive relation with willingness to confess. This study highlights that individual and organizational religious figures possibly have differing origins of trust (ability, benevolence, and integrity). This difference may be related to one’s perception of the sexual abuse that occurred within the Catholic Church.
Date Created
2019-12
Agent

Cultural Differences in Memory Output

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Description
Music and emotions have been studied frequently in the past as well as music and memory. However, these three items don’t have as much research grouped together. Further, this research does not also encompass culture. In my research, the aim

Music and emotions have been studied frequently in the past as well as music and memory. However, these three items don’t have as much research grouped together. Further, this research does not also encompass culture. In my research, the aim was to examine the relationship between music, memory, emotion, and culture of gender. The hypothesis was that women had more emotions linked to music than men. We gave 416 students an animal fluency task, a letter fluency task, six cultural fluency tasks, and a cultural identity survey. We used a t-test and created a graph to analyze my data. After administering my tasks, we found that women had recalled more adjectives linked to music than men. However, there was not a statistically significant difference between the number of adjectives with emotional valence between men and women, indicating that there was no relationship between gender and emotion in regards to music. The limitations on this study included the descriptions on how to complete the task, the cultural norms of the participants, and the disparity between the number of female and male participants. In a future study, it is necessary to be more specific in what is desired from the participants and to pay close attention to shifting gender norms. Further, we would also like to see how the results from future research can impact music therapy for memory-related mood disorders.
Date Created
2019-05
Agent

Religious and Moral Determinants of Active Euthanasia Acceptance in the United States

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Description
In this honors thesis certain religious and moral beliefs were analyzed and used to predict active euthanasia acceptance for Christians in the United States. The factors used to predict euthanasia acceptance for a suffering, terminally ill individual were religiosity, empathy,

In this honors thesis certain religious and moral beliefs were analyzed and used to predict active euthanasia acceptance for Christians in the United States. The factors used to predict euthanasia acceptance for a suffering, terminally ill individual were religiosity, empathy, God representations, and attitudes toward God. Negative correlations were observed between acceptance of euthanasia and religiosity, empathy, positive attitudes toward God, and a benevolent God representation. Positive correlations were observed between acceptance of euthanasia and negative attitudes toward God, whereas there was no significant correlation between support for euthanasia and an authoritarian God representation. When acceptance of euthanasia was regressed on these independent variables, religiosity was the most significant predictor of acceptance. It was concluded that highly religious Christians may tend to prioritize their religious teachings over their instinctual empathy for a suffering person because prematurely ending a patient’s life interferes with God’s will and reduces his role in worldly affairs.
Date Created
2019-05
Agent