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Psychol Rep. 2002 Jun;90(3 Pt 2):1069-74.

Apocalyptic thinking, autonomy, and sociotropy.

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University of Wolverhampton, Division of Psychology, United Kingdom.


As the millennium approached there was a unique opportunity to examine beliefs about impending apocalyptic events. In March, 1998 60 English participants, 20 to 35 years of age, including 20 Jehovah's Witnesses, 20 Roman Catholics, and 20 Methodists, completed a four-dimension scale of Positive and Negative Autonomy and Positive and Negative Sociotropy and a questionnaire, Apocalyptic Thinking, on the millennium containing questions on apocalyptic beliefs. The aim of the study was to investigate the apocalyptic beliefs of a number of Christian denominations and examine the relationship between scores on apocalyptic thinking about the millennium and group cohesion. Jehovah's Witnesses scored highest on all scales except Positive Autonomy, and the Catholics had higher Negative Sociotropy and Apocalyptic Thinking scores than the Methodists. Negative Sociotropy scores correlated positively with Apocalyptic Thinking scores for all groups. These data suggest significant positive relationship between these Christian endorsements of the likelihood of apocalyptic events at the millennium and the extent to which they perceive nonmembers of their denomination as 'outsiders'.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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