Mentor:Dr. Joshua N. Hook
Research Topic:Thoughts, prayers, action: Assessing the relationship between prayer and further engagement in activism
Abstract:In the wake of a tragic event (i.e., Mass shootings and natural disasters), a common first response is an offering of thoughts and prayers. While some who pray make an added effort to help support a cause, recent criticism associates the term "thoughts and prayers" to Slacktivism. Slacktivism is defined as a willingness to perform a relatively costless, token display of support for a social cause, with an accompanying lack of willingness to devote significant effort to enact meaningful change. Given recent tragedies, it is imperative to understand the role of prayer in slacktivist behavior and civic engagement. The present study is utilizing two research methods to explore such a relationship. Our correlational study aims to analyze the influence of personal prayer methods on frequency of civic engagement. An experimental study will control for prayer coping styles to assess a participant’s willingness to give monetary donations toward a disaster relief organization. The results of this study may help promote awareness and discussion among religious communities regarding a need for more personal extension in acts of service beyond prayer. On the contrary, it may also shed light on how prayer may motivate an individual to take further meaningful action.