Review of Religious Research

, Volume 59, Issue 4, pp 557–574 | Cite as

The Use of Prayer to Manage Anger: Do Characteristics of the Emotional Experience Matter?

  • Shane Sharp
  • Deborah Carr
Research Note


Research has established that individuals use prayer to manage negative emotions, yet little is known about how the characteristics of individuals’ emotional experiences—such as how long the emotions last and the source of emotions—influence the use of this emotion management strategy. Using data from the 1996 General Social Survey emotion module (N = 1114), we evaluate the extent to which the use of prayer to manage anger is associated with: the intensity, source, and duration of negative emotions experienced; reflection on the negative emotion-inducing incident; and perceived appropriateness of emotional reaction. Estimated logistic regression models show that characteristics of emotional experiences (except perceived appropriateness) are significantly associated with the use of prayer to manage anger. The analyses reveal that the appropriateness of using prayer to manage negative emotions varies based on specific aspects of the emotional experience, carrying implications for interventions such as pastoral counseling or anger management programs.


Prayer Emotions Emotion management 


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Copyright information

© Religious Research Association, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyNorthern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA
  2. 2.Boston UniversityBostonUSA

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