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PhD defence

Construction and Validation of the Apperception Test God Representations: An Implicit Measure to Assess God Representations

  • H.P. Stulp
Thursday 25 February 2021
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden

This dissertation reports about the construction and validation of The Apperception Test God Representations. First, results of a meta-analysis demonstrated that for adherents of monotheistic religions, their perceived and experienced relationship with the personal god they believe in, was associated with well-being and distress. Also, as was expected based on object-relations and attachment theory, God representations were associated with views of self and others and with neuroticism/optimism.  However, these results were mostly based on self-report measures of God representations, which are thought to be susceptible to social desirability and doctrine effects.

Many scholars believe that God representations are for an important part implicit. Because well-validated implicit God representation measures did not exist, this thesis project examined the validity of a newly developed measure. In a group of 74 Christian patients with personality disorders and a group  of 71 Christian nonpatients, associations of implicitly measured God representations with implicitly and explicitly measured distress and object-relational and explicitly measured personality functioning were compared with associations of explicitly measured God representations with these variables.

For patients, associations between changes in God representations and changes in distress and explicit object-relational functioning after psychotherapy were examined. Results predominantly corroborated the construct validity of the ATGR.



  • Prof. E.H.M. Eurelings-Bontekoe
  • Prof. G.G.Glas (UvA)

PhD dissertations

PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally after the defence through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

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