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Handbook of Positive Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality

  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2023

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  • A comprehensive resource examining the intersections of positive psychology
  • Draws connections between two fields that research has increasingly shown to be connected
  • Useful for social and clinical scientists as well as practitioners
  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access

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Table of contents (31 chapters)

  1. Historical and Theoretical Considerations

  2. Methodological Considerations

  3. Cultural Considerations


About this book

This handbook aims to bridge the gap between the fields of positive psychology and the psychology of religion and spirituality. It is the authoritative guide to the intersections among religion, spirituality, and positive psychology and includes the following sections: (1) historical and theoretical considerations, (2) methodological considerations, (3) cultural considerations, (4) developmental considerations, (5) empirical research on happiness and well-being in relation to religion and spirituality, (6) empirical research on character strengths and virtues in relation to religion and spirituality, (7) clinical and applied considerations, and (8) field unification and advancement. Leading positive psychologists and psychologists of religion/spirituality have coauthored the chapters, drawing on expertise from their respective fields. The handbook is useful for social and clinical scientists, practitioners in helping professions, practitioners in religious and spiritual fields, andstudents of psychology and religion/spirituality.

This is an open access book.


“We encourage you to approach this book as an intellectual meal to savor slowly and mindfully. … We encourage you to approach this handbook with that vista of possibility in mind. Search for reasons that might be beneficial for positive psychology to integrate R/S more into its theorizing, empirical research, and practical applications. … Ultimately, we hope this chapter’s suggestions will inform what you “eat” and digest from this book … .” (, Scriptable,, Vol. 116, November, 2023) Book Endorsement Statements for the Handbook of Positive Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality

“Most classical treatises of religion in psychology and related disciplines have taken a deficiency approach to the topic—religion as a defense against threat, danger, insecurity, and death. Since the launch of positive psychology, research has—again and again—demonstrated the one-sided  nature of such treatises. Religion and spirituality also provide sources for growth—security, meaning, belonging, self-transcendence, and more. The Handbook of Positive Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality provides a masterful, comprehensive review of theory, research, and clinical applications at the exciting intersection between the psychology of religion/spirituality and positive psychology. It also demonstrates that each of those fields is incomplete without the other. This book should be in the shelf of every serious student of religion, spirituality, and psychology.”

-          Pehr Granqvist, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, Stockholm University

Author of Attachment in Religion and Spirituality: A Wider View (Guilford Press)

“An epic moment for human flourishing resides within the synergy of positive psychology and spirituality. Within this volume is found the next frontier of positive psychology, exponentially expanded through spiritual awareness; and so too the translation of spiritual experience into lived positive cognition, behavioral habit, and practice. The editors of this volume help clear a rich new terrain for the next generation of humanitarian practitioners, researchers and scholars.”

-          Lisa Miller, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Education, Founder of the Spirituality, Mild, Body Institute (SMBI), Teachers College, Columbia University

-          Editor of The Oxford University Press Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality (2nd ed.; Oxford University Press)

-          Author of The Awakened Brain: The New Science of Spirituality and Our Quest for an Inspired Life (Random House) and The Spiritual Child: The New Science of Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving (MacMillan)





“At last! This broad-based, creative, integrative handbook really helps to fill a niche by focusing directly on the interface between positive psychology and the psychology of religion and spirituality. I especially appreciated the inclusion of a variety of faith traditions and the chance for ‘deep dives’ into so many aspects of positive psychology.”

-          Julie J. Exline, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychological Sciences, Case Western Reserve University

-          Co-Author of Working With Spiritual Struggles in Psychotherapy: From Research to Practice


Editors and Affiliations

  • School of Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy, Wheaton College, Wheaton, USA

    Edward B. Davis

  • Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, USA

    Everett L. Worthington Jr.

  • Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Baylor University, Waco, USA

    Sarah A. Schnitker

About the editors

Edward B. Davis, Professor of Psychology at Wheaton College (IL), has published over 100 articles and chapters, mostly on the intersections of positive psychology and the psychology of religion and spirituality. He also is a licensed clinical psychologist who practices from a positive psychology framework that often is spiritually integrative. Davis has procured more than $4 million in funding as a principal investigator on research grants and was the recipient of the 2020 Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association’s Division 36 (Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality).

Everett L. Worthington, Jr., Commonwealth Professor Emeritus, has published over 500 articles and chapters and over 45 books on positive psychology, religion/spirituality, and the hope-focused couple approach. He does an essentially equal amount of basic scientific and applied research. He has co-edited several Springer-published handbooks. 

Sarah A. Schnitker, Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Baylor University, studies virtue and character development in adolescents and emerging adults, with a focus on the role of spirituality/religion and technology in virtue formation. Schnitker has procured more than $6 million in funding as a principal investigator on multiple research grants and has published over 50 articles and chapters.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Handbook of Positive Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality

  • Editors: Edward B. Davis, Everett L. Worthington Jr., Sarah A. Schnitker

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Behavioral Science and Psychology, Behavioral Science and Psychology (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2023

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-031-10273-8Published: 19 November 2022

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-031-10276-9Published: 19 November 2022

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-10274-5Published: 17 November 2022

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXIV, 513

  • Number of Illustrations: 10 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Positive Psychology, Religion and Psychology

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