A new study indicates that saying a prayer makes people less angry and aggressive in behaviour
A series of studies showed that people who were provoked by insulting comments from a stranger showed less anger and aggression soon afterwards if they prayed for another person in the meantime.
A recent study at
. Research shows that prayer can help people cope better with their anger and feel less aggressive towards the aggressor. Ohio State University
According to Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University., “The benefits of prayer identified in this study don't rely on divine intervention: they probably occur because the act of praying changed the way people think about a negative situation.
He said that people often turn to prayer when they're feeling negative emotions, including anger and they found that prayer really could help people cope with their anger, probably by helping them change how they viewed the events that angered them and helping them take it less personally.
Results indicated that prayer helped calm people regardless of their religious affiliation, or how often they attended church services or prayed in daily life.
The entire project consisted of 3 separate studies.
There were a total of 53 US. College students in the first study.First, they completed a questionnaire that measured their levels of anger, fatigue, depression, vigor, and tension.
They were then asked to write an essay about an event that made them feel very angry. Later on, they were told that the essay would be given to a partner, whom they would never meet, for evaluation.
Actually, there was no partner and all the participants received the same negative, anger-inducing evaluation that included the statement: "This is one of the worst essays I have ever read!"
After making the participants angry, the researchers had the students participate in the second "study" in which they read a newspaper story about a student named Maureen with a rare form of cancer. Participants were asked to imagine how Maureen feels about what happened and how it affected her life.
Then, the participants were randomly assigned to either pray for Maureen for five minutes, or to simply think about her.
Afterwards, the researchers again measured the students' levels of anger, fatigue, depression, vigor and tension. As expected, self-reported levels of anger were higher among the participants after they were provoked. But those who prayed for Maureen reported being significantly less angry than those who simply thought about her.
Prayer did not show any effect on the other emotions measured in the study.