Committee Chair

Hood, Ralph W., Jr., 1942-

Committee Member

Shelton, Jill T.; Huber, Thomas


Dept. of Psychology


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Throughout history humans have experienced instances where the boundary between self and other dissolved, and the ordinary sense of “I” was replaced with a unity to all of existence or a higher power. These are commonly referred to as mystical experiences, and although the relationship between mystical experiences and positive mental health outcomes has largely been supported, the psychological mechanisms underlying it are unknown. This study develops a scale to test the theory that Belief of Other as Self (BOS) mediates the relationship between mystical experience and mental health. This study also hypothesizes spiritual practice and time elapsed since one’s most recent mystical experience moderate the strength of the aforementioned relationship. Results support BOS as a mediator, while neither elapsed time nor spiritual practice were found to be moderators. These findings reveal the need for developing clinical interventions targeting a patient’s fundamental sense of self to improve mental health.


I would like to thank my friends, family, and church members for your support through the busiest time of my life. I wasn’t able to give you enough time and attention, but you continued to support me nonetheless. To Dr. Ralph Hood, thank you for bringing me in as one of your mentees and for always having your door open when I needed someone to bounce ideas off. I appreciate you encouraging me to pursue my research interests and for your guidance when I needed direction. To Dr. Jill Shelton, thank you for incorporating me into your lab and for your advice to continue the program when I was considering taking a semester off. To Dr. Thomas Huber, thank you for your insight into clinical psychology and spirituality, and thank you for showing interest in my research. To Dr. Kristen Black, although you weren’t on my thesis committee, I sought your statistical expertise as if you were. Thank you for always clearing up my statistical confusion. To UTC’s Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Institutional Research, thank you for supporting me with a Graduate Assistantship. Without it, I would not have been able to attend UTC. Also, thank you for your investment in me as a person. Lastly, thank you to UTC’s psychology department for supporting me through my graduate education.


M. A.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Arts.




Self--Religious aspects; Psychology--Religious aspects; Mysticism; Experience (Religion)


psychology of religion, mystical experience, self-concept, mental health,

Document Type

Masters theses




xi, 75 leaves