Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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(1926-) Professor of Psychology at the University of Denver and a core faculty member of the Joint University of Denver-Iliff School of Theology, Religion and Psychological Studies program. President of Division 36 of the American Psychological Association (1985-1986) and a recipient of its William James award for outstanding and sustained contribution to the empirical psychology of religion (1982); Vice-President (1977-1979) of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Spilka is a coauthor of an authoritative textbook on the empirical psychology of religion. He is widely recognized for his contributions to measurement in a variety of areas in the psychology of religion including refinements of the intrinsic-extrinsic dimensions and the construction of scales to measure attitudes toward death. He continues to be influential in testing a variety of hypotheses in the empirical psychology of religion associated with research on images of God, mysticism, religious experience, and fear of death. He also is involved in research relating religion to mental health issues, coping, and physical disease (especially cancer). He has been influential in documenting the minimal treatment of the psychology of religion in introductory psychology textbooks. His major theoretical contribution continues to be his pioneering application of general attribution theory to the study of religion.

Ralph W. Hood, Jr .


R. A. Bridges and B. Spilka, "Religion and the Mental Health of Women," in Religion and Mental Health , ed. J. Schumaker (London: Oxford University Press, 1992)

B. Spilka, "Religion in the Introductory Psychology Textbook," Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 28(1989):366-371

B. Spilka and D. N. McIntosh, "Attribution Theory and Religious Experience," in Handbook of Religious Experience , ed. R. W. Hood, Jr. (Birmingham, Ala.: Religious Education Press, 1995)

B. Spilka et al., The Psychology of Religion (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1985a)

B. Spilka et al., "A General Attribution Theory for the Psychology of Religion," Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 24(1985b):1-20.

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