|AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION (APA), DIVISION ON THE PSYCHOLOGY OF RELIGION (Division 36)|
|One of numerous divisions of the APA concerned with specialty interests of
psychologists. Its origins lie in the efforts of the American Catholic Psychological
Association to reduce Catholic bias against psychology and to encourage Catholics to
pursue the science and profession of psychology. In 1968, this organization was disbanded
only to be reorganized in 1971 as an ecumenical group, Psychologists Interested in
Religious Issues (PIRI). In 1974, it sought divisional status in the APA. Its initial
attempts foiled, it finally achieved divisional status in August 1975. Virginia Sexton was
its first president. In 1993, its name was changed to Psychology of Religion.
The division's aim is to foster both research and practice related to psychology of religion. Members need have no religious identification. One can become an affiliate member without being a member of the APA. It meets during the annual meeting of the APA and is part of the annual program. Its program accepts submissions relevant to religious issues, including quantitative and qualitative research in the psychology of religion. Each year it presents an award for scholarly contribution in the psychology of religion that is named after William C. Bier, who was influential both in the American Catholic Psychological Association and in the early years of PIRI. Less frequently, the division presents the William James award for research in the psychology of religion. The Psychology of Religion Newsletter is the official publication of the Psychology of Religion division.
Ralph W. Hood, Jr .
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