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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.
"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