Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 473–493 | Cite as

Learning from Spiritual Models and Meditation: A Randomized Evaluation of a College Course

  • Doug Oman
  • Shauna L. Shapiro
  • Carl E. Thoresen
  • Tim Flinders
  • Joseph D. Driskill
  • Thomas G. Plante
Original Paper


Effects of two meditation and mindfulness-based spiritual interventions were examined in college undergraduates (N=44). Compared to a control group, both interventions decreased negative religious coping (d=−0.80, p<.01) and images of God as mainly controlling (d=−.73, p<.01). One intervention provided more training in tools for learning from community and tradition-based spiritual exemplars. It produced gains in famous or traditional spiritual exemplars’ perceived influence (d=+.81, p<.05) and availability (d=+.66, p<.10), in self-efficacy for learning from spiritual exemplars (d=+.92, p<.05), and in nonmaterialistic aspirations (d=+0.65, p<.05).


Social learning Social cognitive theory God images Passage meditation Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction 



We gratefully acknowledge support for this work from Metanexus Institute (grant: “Learning from Spiritual Examples: Measures & Intervention”), John Templeton Foundation, Academic Council of Learned Societies, Contemplative Mind in Society, Fetzer Institute, Santa Clara University Internal Grants for Research, and the Spirituality and Health Institute, Santa Clara University. We also thank Sara Tsuboi and Anthony Vigliotta for their invaluable assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Doug Oman
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • Shauna L. Shapiro
    • 3
    • 5
  • Carl E. Thoresen
    • 4
    • 5
  • Tim Flinders
    • 5
  • Joseph D. Driskill
    • 6
  • Thomas G. Plante
    • 5
    • 7
  1. 1.School of Public Health140 Warren Hall MC#7360BerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Public Health InstituteOaklandUSA
  3. 3.Department of Counseling PsychologySanta Clara UniversitySanta ClaraUSA
  4. 4.School of Education and Departments of Psychology and PsychiatryStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  5. 5.Spirituality and Health InstituteSanta Clara UniversitySanta ClaraUSA
  6. 6.Graduate Theological UnionPacific School of ReligionBerkeleyUSA
  7. 7.Department of PsychologySanta Clara UniversitySanta ClaraUSA

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