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Laura Wilson

Wilson, L . (2005, May). Measuring students reactions to Gnosticism.
Mentor: Dr. J. Roy Hopkins


The present study examined whether controversial information that conflicted with an undergraduate student's previously held religious beliefs would alter or change those beliefs in any way. The study also investigated whether an emerging adult's life satisfaction was related to their change (or reluctance to change) their religious beliefs. To test a participant's religious beliefs information about an early form of Christianity known as Gnosticism was presented. Participants consisted of 59 St. Mary's College of Maryland students who were asked to read the information and report their religious beliefs before and after its presentation by using the Short Version Christian Orthodoxy Scale (Hunsberger, 1989). Participants were also asked to report their life satisfaction using the Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener, Emmons, Griffen & Larsen, 1985). The findings showed that the presentation of information about Gnosticism did not effect religious beliefs and that life satisfaction scores were correlated with a change in religious beliefs at a near significant level. Since religion plays such an important part of an individual's psychological and emotional well-being, further research about the implications and the causes of changing religious beliefs is needed for the future.

Read the paper (download the pdf)