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The Redemptive SelfStories Americans Live By$
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Dan P. McAdams

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195176933

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195176933.001.0001

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The Redemptive Self

Dan P. McAdams

Oxford University Press

Drawing from empirical research on the psychology and sociology of religion and from historical analyses of American religious life, this chapter describes how religiosity among Americans is positively associated with physical health, psychological well-being, and generativity. Case studies of moral exemplars and empirical research on the life narrative and generativity, strongly suggest that highly generative American adults often draw upon religious traditions to articulate their redemptive stories of self. The chapter also considers how Americans have reacted to the narrative challenge of reconciling within their own redemptive life stories their devout religious sentiments on the one hand, and the drive for money and material gain on the other.

Keywords:   American religion, psychology of religion, religion and mental health, moral exemplars, Second Great Awakening, Charles Grandison Finney, dwellers and seekers

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