Becoming a mystic: an analysis of developmental factors according to the Murray "Need-Press" theory
Spangler, John David
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This study investigated the early lives of certain mystics from a psychologist standpoint, assuming that mysticism is subject to the same type of forces and factors as any other human behavior. (For the purposes of the dissertation, a mystic is defined as one who centers his life on God and strives for "union" with him.) Questions of theology and philosophy were excluded from the study, and focus was made on the experience of the mystics. Biographies and, where available, autobiographies of the mystics were analyzed and rated using the categories developed by Henry A. Murray et al., known as the "need-press" theory. Only those elements susceptible to analysis using extant psychological methods and techniques were considered. The mystics were limited to those from Western Christendom. Because of the subjectivity involved in the classification of the biographical material, a second rater independently rated the same material. The two raters agreed on more than three-fourths of the classifications; Pearson correlations ranged from .86 to .97 [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University
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