The effects of religious involvement on short-term psychological reactions to the death of Pope John Paul II: A study on an Italian sample

Susanna Schmidt1, Igor Sotgiu1, Carla Tinti1, Antonietta Curci2, Nicoletta Businaro1, Dario Galati1
1University of Turin, Italy
2University of Bari, Italy
Cite this article:  Schmidt, S., Sotgiu, I., Tinti, C., Curci, A., Businaro, N., & Galati, D. (2007). The effects of religious involvement on short-term psychological reactions to the death of Pope John Paul II: A study on an Italian sample. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 35, 417-428.

Volume 35 Issue 3 | e1584 | Published: April 2007 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2007.35.3.417

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The short-term psychological reactions to the death of Pope John Paul II were investigated. Between 1 to 6 days after this event, 526 Catholic and atheist Italian adults took part in a questionnaire study. Participants were asked to report the personal circumstances in which they first learned about the Pope's death, their emotional reactions, and their appraisal of the event's importance and consequentiality. Other questions assessed immediate memory for the original event, surprise-expectedness, exposure to mass media, and religious involvement. Results showed that the news of the Pope's death, although widely expected, had a strong cognitive and emotional impact. Almost all the participants were able to recall the personal circumstances in which they heard the news. A positive relation was observed between the degree of religious involvement and appraisal of importance and consequentiality, intensity of emotion, memory for event-related details, and frequency of exposure to mass media. Effects related to the age of the participants were also found.
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