Exploring the consequences of religious experience within the Greer tradition: Effects on personal affect and on religious affect


  • Leslie J. Francis


This study builds on a research tradition established by Greer in Northern Ireland in the late 1970s and extends this tradition to the Republic of Ireland to explore the effect of having and acknowledging religious experience on religious affect and personal affect, after controlling for personal factors (sex and age), psychological factors (extraversion and neuroticism), and religious factors (church attendance). Data analysed separately for 3,523 students in Northern Ireland and for 3,848 students in the Republic of Ireland (aged between 16 and 19 years) found significant positive effects for religious experience on both attitude toward Christianity (religious affect) and happiness (personal affect). The research concludes from these findings that within the contexts of the Christian or post-Christian cultures of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland the consequences of having and acknowledging religious experience (as specifically captured by the Greer question) include holding a more positive view of the Christian tradition and living happier lives.