Kohls, N., Walach, H. and Wirtz, M. (2009) The relationship between spiritual experiences, transpersonal trust, social support and sense of coherence - a comparison between spiritually practising and non-practising samples. Mental Health, Religion and Culture.12(1), pp. 1-23. 1367-4676 print / 1469-9737 online.
The pathways from exceptional experiences (measured with the Exceptional Experiences Questionnaire, EEQ), transpersonal trust (TPV), social support (F-SoZu) and sense of coherence (SOC) scales towards mental distress within a spiritually practising (SP) and a non-practising sample (NSP) were compared, using structural equation modelling. A high amount of variance explained for SOC, a moderate amount for F-SoZU and for TPV a very small amount only in the SP sample were found. In contrast, for the EEQ, which grasps positive and negative spiritual, psychopathological, and visionary dream experiences, a strong relationship was found for the NSP sample but only a moderate relationship for the SP sample. Further analysis revealed that the path coefficients from positive, negative spiritual, and psychopathological experiences to distress were significantly lower in the SP sample. Thus, as regular spiritual practice seems to alter the pathways to distress derived from positive and negative spiritual and psychopathological experiences, unidimensional questionnaires only grasping positive spiritual experiences seem to be inappropriate for explaining the intrapersonal mechanisms associated with regular spiritual practice