Religious Experience

We have two measures that are looking at the religious and spiritual experience of our patients. These are unique to our other measures  in that they are using more qualitative data, while most aspects of our study are largely using quantitative data. By doing this, we will get a more rich, detailed data set to compliment everything else.


Spiritual Life History Interview

This is essentially a detailed narrative of a person’s life from when they were a child to the present. Prompts are given to allow a person to think of this on a spiritual level and to share the most meaningful and significant moments in their lives. They are asked to divide their experiences into “chapters” and to name each chapter. Then, they are asked to describe specific moments and events in their lives within those chapters, i.e., the worst, the best, the most difficult, etc. We hope to use these narratives to gain insight into their spiritual life as well as make connections to our other data. This could be especially useful in those cases where one loses their connection to religion upon their diagnoses of Parkinson’s.  A person need not be religious or particularly spiritual to participate in this, and we are hoping to get a variety of different backgrounds.

Expanded Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory (EPCI)

The EPCI explores the phenomenology of religious experiences in PD patients. Based upon the PCI, a survey instrument that was originally developed by Ron Pekala to analyze the nature of general consciousness, the EPCI has been modified to specifically accommodate religious experience. The EPCI is designed to capture quantitative information about an individual’s experience in terms of its subjective qualities and can be used to investigate the relationship between PD and the more experiential aspects of religion. By analyzing each experience along thirty-three different dimensions, the EPCI is not only able to determine whether or not PD has an impact on religious experience, but it can help us to understand precisely how those experiences are affected, as well.


Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine