Defining the Psychology of Religion and Place: A Concept Analysis

  • Victor CountedEmail author
  • Fraser Watts


This chapter clarifies the psychology of religion and place (PRP) by providing conceptual and operational definition of the concept as a first step in the systematic analysis of PRP for future research. Concept analysis is a method designed by Walker and Avant (Strategies for Theory Construction in Nursing. Pearson, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2011) for identifying the defining attributes of a concept. Drawing on this analytical method, we identify the attributes and characteristics of PRP and its theoretical and practical applications to the field of psychology. Sample cases were extracted from chapters in our current book, which illustrate PRP further as the constellation of subjective relational and spiritual experiences in spatial settings. This operational definition is based on the following defining attributes of PRP as (1) the relational experience between two, or more, entities; (2) the spiritual experiences in sacred places with connections to the past; (3) experiencing the sacred in natural environments; (4) spaces where identity and attachment are formed; and, (5) resilience and meaning-making in places of religious significance. PRP was further classified and defined in terms of its antecedents (how it starts), consequences (the effects), exemplar cases and referents. Further research in the field needs to examine the cross-cultural dimensions of PRP and develop instruments for assessing it.


The psychology of religion and place Place spirituality Concept analysis 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.University of LincolnLincolnUK

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