Kenneth Pargament

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Kenneth Pargament
Born (1950-11-03) November 3, 1950 (age 70)
Alma materUniversity of Maryland
Scientific career

Kenneth I. Pargament (born November 3, 1950)[1] is an emeritus professor of psychology at Bowling Green State University (Ohio, USA).


Born in 1950[2] in Washington, D.C.,[1] Pargament received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 1977.[3] He currently studies various relationships between religion, psychological well-being and stress, as well as other closely related subjects.[4] He is also licensed in Clinical Psychology and has a private practice.

Pargament has published over 200 papers on the subject of religion and spirituality in psychology. He is world-renowned for his scholarly contributions to the psychology of religion, and for providing clinically relevant scientific analyses of religion's role in mental health. Pargament has also written multiple books, including The Psychology of Religion and Coping: Theory, Research, Practice (1997; see article),[5] and Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy: Understanding and Addressing the Sacred (2007). Both of these seminal works provide a systematic program of empirical research, guided by theory, that is of practical relevance to helping professionals.


One of Pargament's best known areas of research has pertained to Religious Coping, which involves drawing on religious beliefs and practices to understand and deal with life stressors.[5] Pargament has also helped to design a questionnaire called the "RCOPE" to measure Religious Coping strategies.[6] The three methods of coping that are identified by the RCOPE are the deferring style, self-directing style, and collaborative style. The deferring style involves delegating all problem solving to God; the self-directing style is when the individual chooses to utilize the power God has given them to solve the problem on their own; and the collaborative style is implemented when the individual treats God as a teammate in the problem solving process. The collaborative style of religious coping has been found to have the greatest psychological benefits, correlating with increased self-esteem and lower levels of depression.[7] Thus, Pargament's work has helped set the stage for a large scale program of research on this subject: currently there have been over 250 published studies on religious coping.

Pargament's research also has helped psychologists learn how religious belief influences mental and physical health. For instance, he found that religious activity increased for Muslim-Americans after 9/11, and that in comparison with those who remained isolated and rejected by their religion, they experienced fewer symptoms of depression [8] Similarly, he found that negative religious coping among AIDS patients was associated with an increase in HIV-related symptoms [9]

Pargament has described four major stances toward religion that have been adopted by psychotherapists in their work with clients. He called them the religiously rejectionist, exclusivist, constructivist, and pluralist stances.[5][10] He claims that the pluralistic approach is the best for clinicians because it recognizes the existence of a Supreme Being but allows for many interpretations of that reality.[11] Furthermore, Pargament believes that religious discussions should become a greater part of the therapeutic process. He has advocated for religious guidebooks to be created for psychotherapists and that religious training be mandated.[11]

Pargament has also linked attribution theory to the psychology of religion, doing empirical research distinguishing between different forms of religious attribution.

Published books[edit]


  • Kenneth I. Pargament (2007). Spiritually integrated psychotherapy: Understanding and addressing the sacred. New York: Guilford. ISBN 978-1-57230-844-2
  • Kenneth I. Pargament (1997). The psychology of religion and coping: Theory, research, practice (see article). New York: Guilford. ISBN 978-1-57230-664-6


  • Pargament, Kenneth I., ed. (2013). APA handbook of psychology, religion, and spirituality (2 volumes). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. ISBN 978-1-4338-1077-0. OCLC 792941510.
    • Pargament, Kenneth I.; Exline, Julie J.; Jones, James W., eds. (2013). APA handbook of psychology, religion, and spirituality (Vol 1): Context, theory, and research. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/14045-000. ISBN 978-1-4338-1079-4.
    • Pargament, Kenneth I.; Mahoney, Annette; Shafranske, Edward P., eds. (2013). APA handbook of psychology, religion, and spirituality (Vol 2): An applied psychology of religion and spirituality. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/14046-000. ISBN 978-1-43381080-0.
  • Michael E. McCullough, Kenneth I. Pargament, & Carl E. Thoresen (Eds.) (2000), Forgiveness: Theory, research, and practice. New York: Guilford. ISBN 978-1-57230-711-7[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b VITA: Kenneth I. Pargament Archived 2012-10-03 at the Wayback Machine, BGSU
  2. ^ Kenneth I. Pargament (2007). Spiritually integrated psychotherapy: Understanding and addressing the sacred. New York: Guilford Press. ISBN 978-1-57230-844-2 (birth year 1950 in LOC pub data)
  3. ^ BGSU/Psychology faculty page - Kenneth I. Pargament Archived 2009-02-18 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Personal website
  5. ^ a b c Kenneth I. Pargament (1997). The psychology of religion and coping: Theory, research, practice. New York: Guilford. ISBN 978-1-57230-664-6
  6. ^ Kenneth I. Pargament, Harold G. Koenig & Lisa M. Perez (2000). The many methods of religious coping: Development and initial validation of the RCOPE. Journal of Clinical Psychology, v56 n4, pp519-543. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-4679(200004)56:4<519::AID-JCLP6>3.0.CO;2-1
  7. ^ Phillips III, R. E., Lynn, Q. K., Crossley, C. D., & Pargament, K. I. (2004). Self-Directing Religious Coping: A Deistic God, Abandoning God, or No God at All?. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 43(3), 409-418.
  8. ^ Abu-Raiya, H., Pargament, K. I., & Mahoney, A. (2011). Examining coping methods with stressful interpersonal events experienced by Muslims living in the United States following the 9/11 attacks. Psychology Of Religion And Spirituality, 3(1), 1-14.
  9. ^ Cotton, S., Puchalski, C. M., Sherman, S. N., Mrus, J. M., Peterman, A. H., Feinberg, J., Kenneth I. Pargament, Amy C. Justice, Anthony C. Leonard, Tsevat, J. (2006). Spirituality and Religion in Patients with HIV/AIDS. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 21S5-S13.
  10. ^ Brian J. Zinnbauer & Kenneth I. Pargament (2000). Working with the sacred: Four approaches to religious and spiritual issues in counseling. Journal of Counseling & Development, v78 n2, pp162-171. ISSN 0748-9633
  11. ^ a b Zinnbauer, B. J., & Pargament, K. I. (2000). Working With the Sacred: Four Approaches to Religious and Spiritual Issues in Counseling. Journal of Counseling & Development, 78(2), 162-171.
  12. ^ Archived 2010-02-15 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]