Wacholtz, A. B. & Pargament, K. I. (2005). Is spirituality a critical ingredient of meditation? Comparing the effects of spiritual mediation, secular meditation, and relaxation on spiritual, psychological, cardiac, and pain outcomes. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 28, 369-384.


How might spiritual meditation be distinguished from secular meditation? What evidence suggests that spiritual meditation may be more effective in producing health benefits? What are the limitations or shortcomings of this evidence?


Describe the Elkins et al. study discussed in the text. What implications does it have for spiritual vs. secular meditational practices?


Provide a general outline of the testing procedure used in this study. What psychological and spiritual measures were taken? How were subjects tested?


Describe the meditation techniques used by the different groups in the study.


What were the important results? What implications might theses results have for theories about human evolution and the Andes’ survivors?

What are the different pathways by which spiritual meditation might increase pain tolerance?


What criticism to the authors raise about their spiritual vs. secular meditation manipulation? Relate this back to earlier ideas about “ancestralization”.


What effects does religious meditation appear to have on health?


What were the hypotheses of the study? Were they confirmed?


Describe the psychological and objective measures used in the study.


What purpose did the manipulation check serve?


Describe the results of the study.


How does meditation appear to effect pain tolerance?


According to the results of the study, does spirituality seem to be a critical ingredient of meditation? Why or why not?