Prayer Objects Provide the Experience of Belonging
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Existing literature on social surrogacy demonstrates that reminders of others with whom people have secure relationships can provide the experience of belonging. Additionally, it has been shown that God can be seen as an alternate attachment figure who can fulfill social needs for connection. Accordingly, this study hypothesizes that objects that remind people of their relationship with God (i.e., prayer objects) can fulfill connection needs and buffer against belongingness threats. Two hypotheses examined whether (1) belongingness threats can increase the desire to use a prayer object, and (2) using a prayer object alleviates the negative feelings caused by a rejection experience. The final sample consisted of 252 UH undergraduate students. Unexpectedly, participants spent more time describing a prayer object than a grocery object independent of belongingness threat. Consistent with the second hypothesis, thinking about a prayer object (but not a grocery object) buffered against the typical negative outcomes of a rejection experience. Explanations for the unexpected results regarding the first hypothesis, limitations of the current study, and future directions are discussed.