Love in the midst of stressors: Exploring the role of daily spiritual experiences

Gina M. Brelsford, Lynn G. Underwood, Bradley R.E. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Spiritual experiences are related to a plethora of personal and relational outcomes. In this study, we examined if daily spiritual experiences buffer the impact of stressors on compassionate love, which is a salient aspect of personal and professional relationships. We used a smartphone-based, experience sampling method (S-ESM) to test the moderating effect of daily spiritual experiences on stressors and love in 1,691 participants, using mixed-effects multilevel regression models. Our analyses indicated that increased stressors predicted reduced attitudes of love for others while increased daily spiritual experiences were associated with greater attitudes of love. We also found that increased daily spiritual experiences over time moderated the negative effect of stressors on love. Specifically, we found that daily spiritual experiences that were higher than the individual's average, rather than merely a higher average spiritual experience, were key to this moderating effect. Implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-43
Number of pages19
JournalResearch in the Social Scientific Study of Religion
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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