The Psychology of Ultimate Concerns: Motivation and Spirituality in Personality

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What gives meaning to life? Of all the aims that people strive for, which ones really matter? Proposing that personal goals are what make life meaningful, valuable, and worth living, this volume explores the role played by spirituality and religion in investing goals with significance. Bringing to the fore a profound aspect of many people's lives that is often neglected by scientific investigators, this book will be read with interest by students and scholars of personality, motivation, health psychology, the ...
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New York, New York, U.S.A. 1999 Hard Cover 1st Ed., 1st Printing, So Stated Lke New in Like New jacket 8vo-over 7?"-9?" tall. ND on title page. A handsome copy hard bound in ... publisher's darkbluecloth covers.230 numbered pages. Consider this book new and same with the dust jacket. Read more Show Less

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Overview

What gives meaning to life? Of all the aims that people strive for, which ones really matter? Proposing that personal goals are what make life meaningful, valuable, and worth living, this volume explores the role played by spirituality and religion in investing goals with significance. Bringing to the fore a profound aspect of many people's lives that is often neglected by scientific investigators, this book will be read with interest by students and scholars of personality, motivation, health psychology, the psychology of religion, and theology, as well as practitioners and students of counseling and psychotherapy. It serves as a unique primary or supplemental text in graduate-level courses.

The book contains black-and-white illustrations.

What gives meaning to life? Of all the goals that people strive for, which ones really matter? This volume makes a powerful case for the inclusion of ultimate concerns:spiritual and religious themes in personal strivings:in any attempt to build a motivational theory of personality. The book first reviews the growing body of empirical and clinical literature on goal seeking and its relationship to subjective well-being, life satisfaction, and personality description. Emmons then sets forth an innovative framework for the assessment and measurement of ultimate concerns. Topics covered include implications of spiritual strivings for mental health and treatment, conflicts between different kinds of goals, ways that ultimate concerns can foster personality integration, goal processes in stress and coping, and the concept of spiritual intelligence. Sample assessment materials are shown in the Appendix, illuminating the author's research methodology.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Robert Emmons has written a splendid book that revives motivational theory in a most constructive way, highlighting the centrality of developmental issues. We now have a book that moves spiritual striving into the mainstream of psychological theory and research. It also provides an excellent review of the goals and strivings literature and shows us, empirically, that ultimate striving can be uniquely effective in the achievement of integration of the adult personality. Refreshingly, the author makes it clear that value judgments are compatible with science. In his final chapter, Emmons introduces the concept of spiritual intelligence as a means of accounting for ability in the domain of goal choice. This is an important contribution to the discussion of human abilities and developmental goals. This book will be of wide interest to psychologists and other readers. It will serve as a text in courses on human motivation, personality, health psychology, adult development, and the psychology of religion. Emmons has provided a very important resource for anyone interested in religious practice, health and well-being, and adult development." —Michael R. Levenson, PhD, Department of Human and Community Development, University of California, Davis

"This is one of the finest examples of integrative scholarship that I have seen. Emmons, among the world's most distinguished personality researchers, has produced a masterful blend of the best research on personal goals and current concerns, life meaning, subjective well-being, and personality fragmentation and integration. Showing how motivation and spirituality come together in the person, the book presents a compelling argument for the concept of spiritual intelligence as a basic psychological function. Emmons clearly loves his material. Written with a high level of sophistication, the book is nonetheless extremely accessible. It is essential reading for serious scholars in the fields of personality research, intelligence, and the psychology of religion. In addition, I recommend it as a text for personality and psychology of religion courses, and any other in which an integrated look at the whole person is taken seriously." —Raymond F. Paloutzian, PhD, Department of Psychology, Westmont College

"In this book, Robert Emmons provides a sound, humane, and empirically grounded framework for integrating spirituality with the psychology of motivation, well-being, and health. The Psychology of Ultimate Concern is beautifully written, packed with research (much of which comes from Emmons' own laboratory), and replete with helpful case material. This book should be read by all psychologists with a scientific interest in the spiritual side of human functioning. I will be recommending this one to colleagues in social, personality, clinical, and health psychology for years to come." —Michael E. McCullough, PhD, Director of Research, National Institute for Healthcare Research

From the Publisher

"Robert Emmons has written a splendid book that revives motivational theory in a most constructive way, highlighting the centrality of developmental issues. We now have a book that moves spiritual striving into the mainstream of psychological theory and research. It also provides an excellent review of the goals and strivings literature and shows us, empirically, that ultimate striving can be uniquely effective in the achievement of integration of the adult personality. Refreshingly, the author makes it clear that value judgments are compatible with science. In his final chapter, Emmons introduces the concept of spiritual intelligence as a means of accounting for ability in the domain of goal choice. This is an important contribution to the discussion of human abilities and developmental goals. This book will be of wide interest to psychologists and other readers. It will serve as a text in courses on human motivation, personality, health psychology, adult development, and the psychology of religion. Emmons has provided a very important resource for anyone interested in religious practice, health and well-being, and adult development." --Michael R. Levenson, PhD, Department of Human and Community Development, University of California, Davis

"This is one of the finest examples of integrative scholarship that I have seen. Emmons, among the world's most distinguished personality researchers, has produced a masterful blend of the best research on personal goals and current concerns, life meaning, subjective well-being, and personality fragmentation and integration. Showing how motivation and spirituality come together in the person, the book presents a compelling argument for the concept of spiritual intelligence as a basic psychological function. Emmons clearly loves his material. Written with a high level of sophistication, the book is nonetheless extremely accessible. It is essential reading for serious scholars in the fields of personality research, intelligence, and the psychology of religion. In addition, I recommend it as a text for personality and psychology of religion courses, and any other in which an integrated look at the whole person is taken seriously." --Raymond F. Paloutzian, PhD, Department of Psychology, Westmont College

"In this book, Robert Emmons provides a sound, humane, and empirically grounded framework for integrating spirituality with the psychology of motivation, well-being, and health. The Psychology of Ultimate Concern is beautifully written, packed with research (much of which comes from Emmons' own laboratory), and replete with helpful case material. This book should be read by all psychologists with a scientific interest in the spiritual side of human functioning. I will be recommending this one to colleagues in social, personality, clinical, and health psychology for years to come." --Michael E. McCullough, PhD, Director of Research, National Institute for Healthcare Research

Contemporary Psychology

"Emmons has done a great service to psychology with this book....He has connected two previously unconnected lines of thought in a heuristic and highly compelling manner. The organization of the book is flawless and the writing is lucid....We have no doubt that the book will be, to use a spiritual term, 'inspiring' to many researchers."--Contemporary Psychology
American Journal of Pastoral Counseling

"A valuable resource....Will be appreciated by those who need more than intuitive or anecdotal evidence for the impact that religion/spirituality have on humankind's personality integration and well-being. It also provides an excellent model for doing empirical research. Students and scholars alike will benefit from following Emmons' blueprint. Finally, both clinicians and researchers will benefit from the author's recognition that religious/spiritual world views are central to the theory of human motivation."--American Journal of Pastoral Counseling
Journal of Psychology and Theology

"One of the more important works in recent years integrating major areas of psychology, religion, and spirituality.....Reading [this book] is both intellectually stimulating and personally satisfying. Get yourself a copy."--Journal of Psychology and Theology
Booknews
Proposing that personal goals are what make life meaningful, valuable, and worth living, Emmons (psychology, U. of California-Davis) explores the role played by spirituality and religion in investing goals with significance. He contends that locating religion and spirituality within accepted scientific parameters can clarify them, and that ultimate concerns should be part of any attempt to build a motivational theory of personality. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Contemporary Psychology

"Emmons has done a great service to psychology with this book....He has connected two previously unconnected lines of thought in a heuristic and highly compelling manner. The organization of the book is flawless and the writing is lucid....We have no doubt that the book will be, to use a spiritual term, 'nspiring' to many researchers."--Contemporary Psychology
American Journal of Pastoral Counseling

"A valuable resource....Will be appreciated by those who need more than intuitive or anecdotal evidence for the impact that religion/spirituality have on humankind's personality integration and well-being. It also provides an excellent model for doing empirical research. Students and scholars alike will benefit from following Emmons' blueprint. Finally, both clinicians and researchers will benefit from the author's recognition that religious/spiritual world views are central to the theory of human motivation."--American Journal of Pastoral Counseling
Journal of Psychology and Theology

"One of the more important works in recent years integrating major areas of psychology, religion, and spirituality.....Reading [this book] is both intellectually stimulating and personally satisfying. Get yourself a copy."--Journal of Psychology and Theology
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572304567
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/7/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 230
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.23 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert A. Emmons, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis

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Table of Contents


I. Personal Goals: An Approach to Personality and Subjective Well-Being
1. Introduction: Motivation and Spirituality in Personality
2. Personal Goals as Units of Analysis
3. Personal Goals and Subjective Well-Being
4. Goal Conflict and Personality Fragmentation
II. Spirituality, Goals, and Intelligence
5. Spiritual Strivings as Ultimate Concerns
6. From Goal to Whole: Spiritual Strivings and Personality Integration
7. Personal Goals and Life Meaning
8. Spiritual Intelligence: Toward a Theory of Personality and Spirituality
Appendix A: Personal Striving Assessment Packet
Appendix B: Personal Striving Coding Manual
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