Date of Conferral







Nina Nabors


The resurgence of prayer and glossolalia (speaking in tongues) within Protestant denominations in the United States of America has stimulated widespread psychological and theological debate. Previous research has indicated that religiosity has both a negative and positive effect on mental health functioning. However, there remains an important gap in the current literature regarding the relationships between specific religious practices and mental health. Therefore the purpose of the proposed study is to report on the growing number of religious persons who pray/glossolate and the conflicting messages in the literature regarding the relationship between religiosity and mental illness. A total of 10 Protestants (5 with and 5 without mental health treatment experience) from a large urban area in southeastern Michigan were interviewed. The key research questions were the participants' prayer life, coping skills, participation in mental health services, and perception of their mental health providers' comfort level. To identify themes, the participants' responses were classified, placed into clusters of meaning, reflected upon, and then described. Identified themes included using prayer/glossolalia to resolve interpersonal conflicts and a preference for Christian identified counselors when seeking mental health services. Findings from this research clarify a need for further study regarding mental health services that are delivered to glossolates and nonglossolates. This is an important contribution to the existing literature and enhances social change initiatives through advocating training for mental health providers in the positive impact of religious practices on mental health.