Div. 36 (Psychology of Religion) is celebrating the birth of its journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, to be edited by Division President Ralph Piedmont, PhD, of Loyola College in Baltimore.
The journal's creation reflects the wave of new, empirical work in the areas of religion and spirituality, and, says Piedmont, the fact that religion has motivated many major human achievements.
"I think that spirituality is one of those few qualities that's uniquely human," he says.
Piedmont is committed to reflecting quality science in the journal, which may be a difficult task, given that the field includes scholars who use many different methods and perspectives. Piedmont's research has been in empirically developing the construct of spirituality as a "sixth" factor of personality. His most recent research demonstrates how spirituality plays a causal role in influencing the mental status of individuals.
With high hopes that the journal will grow quickly and capture interest--in and beyond the division--Piedmont will also devote special sections of the journal to issues such as spirituality and health, and cross-cultural and multicultural expressions of spirituality.
As there is much room for growth, it is clear that Psychology of Religion and Spirituality is in capable hands: Piedmont is a professor and the director of research with Loyola's graduate programs in pastoral counseling and has a wide variety of experience as a journal editor. He is also the editor of Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion and associate editor of Counseling and Values, and has held several other editor positions for journals. He also held the position of membership chair of Div. 36 for nine years.
For now, Piedmont plans to focus on the underlying strength that the division is based on--that of spirituality and faith.
"Spirituality...drives, directs and selects our behavior," he says. "It represents our desire to create a broad sense of personal meaning in the context of knowing that we're going to die."
Dr. Ralph Piedmont believes "spirituality is one of those few qualities that's uniquely human."