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Counseling and Human Development


This study explores the relationship between prayer and mental health in the context of two factors of a perceived relationship with God: closeness to God, and an indirect locus of control through God. Three models were tested for mediation using structural equation modeling to assess the separate and combined effects in an online sample of 330 praying adults from predominantly Christian backgrounds. Closeness to God proved to be a superior mediator. Counselors should consider prayer behaviors when culturally relevant, and encourage meditative and colloquial prayer for clients where increased sources of perceived social support would be beneficial.

Original Publication Information

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:

Jeppsen, Benjamin, Patrick Pössel, Stephanie Winkeljohn Black, Annie Bjerg and Don Wooldridge. "Closeness and Control: Exploring the Relationship Between Prayer and Mental Health." 2015. Counseling and Values 60(2): 164-185.

which has been published in final form at

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