My new study on the Caregiving Faith of African Pentecostals in New South Wales has been published in the Journal for the Academic Study of Religion 30(1): 55-74, the official publication of the Australian Association for the Study of Religion. In this study, I examined the links between attachment patterns and faith development within African Pentecostal communities in New South Wales. Below is the abstract:
This article reports on the association between global attachment styles and aspects of caregiving faith development that involve representations of God as a symbolic attachment figure in a cross-sectional cohort of 261 African Pentecostals in New South Wales, Australia. In particular, the applicability of the correspondence and compensation hypotheses of the adult attachment theory was tested by conducting bivariate and multivariate analyses, controlling for covariates such as age, gender, education level, and relationship status. After adjusting for covariates, insecure-avoidant attachment in human relationship experiences remained a significant predictor of indicators of caregiving faith, which involved proximity to God, perceiving God as a safe haven and secure base, and seeing God as a response to separation anxiety, thus supporting the caregiving faith compensation model in the attachment-religion framework and the role of trait-based attachment processes in faith development. Additional support for the compensatory attachment model is seen in the moderation analysis results—accounting for about 57% of the variance in attachment-affiliation with God—which reveal that African Pentecostals who are not in a relationship (single) and are avoidantly attached showed a trend towards developing attachment to God caregiving faith, compared to those in a relationship (married) who had lower level of attachment to God. Several study implications are discussed.
There are three key takeaways from the study:
1. Relationship problems with parents, friends, and loved ones (due to the demands migration and place change) generally predict faith development in the African pentecostal diaspora.
2. African Pentecostals who are not in a relationship and are avoidantly attached showed a trend towards developing a caregiving faith in God, compared to those who are in a relationship or married.
3. Having a sense of spirituality for African Pentecostals is a matter of security than it is of the experience.