Religious belief and observance derive from preoedipal oral and anal drives according to psychoanalytic theory. Specifically, belief in deity and such concepts as the afterlife are consonant with oral needs for nurturance from an omnipotent benefactor, coupled with a denial of death. Observance of ritual, and particularly church attendance, is a function of the anal need for regular activity and the anal-compulsive need for regularity and repetitiveness. One hundred and ninety-five male and 265 female American college students answered Likert items concerning their beliefs in God and the afterlife, as well as their regularity of church attendance; they then completed the Food Preference Inquiry and the Kline Ai3 Scale, which measures oral and anal typology, respectively. The Rorschach was then administered to a subsample of this group and scored for preoedipal fixation. Correlations between self-reported religiosity and fixational and typological measures confirmed these contingencies, but some of the correlations were true for one sex only. The pattern of results is interpreted within the context of psychoanalytic theory and the measurement of fixation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies