Kenneth Pargament

Kenneth  I. Pargament

K. Pargament

Kenneth I. Pargament is professor of clinical psychology at Bowling Green State University where he has mentored over 50 doctoral students over the past 35 years.  He is also Distinguished Scholar at the Institute for Spirituality and Health of the Texas Medical Center in Houston.

Dr. Pargament has been a leading figure in the dramatic resurgence of attention to the vital connection between spirituality and health.  Through studies of groups dealing with trauma – survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing, victims of natural disasters, and the medically ill– he identified many of the specific ways religion can help (and sometimes hurt) people in crisis. His work, over 200 published studies, challenges negative stereotypes of religion and spirituality, and his 1997 book, The Psychology of Religion and Coping: Theory, Research, Practice was described as “the best book on the psychology of religion in a generation or more.”

A practicing clinical psychologist himself, Dr. Pargament has long been interested in fostering greater sensitivity to spirituality in healthcare. He has designed and tested a number of spiritually integrated treatments for victims of child sexual abuse, women infected with HIV, people with serious mental illness, and patients with heart disease and cancer.  This work culminated in his 2007 book, Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy:  Understanding and Addressing the Sacred. Dr. Pargament is editor-in-chief of the recently published two-volume APA Handbook of Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality.  This handbook highlights the growing recognition that religion and spirituality are central to our efforts to understand health and human behavior.

Dr. Pargament has won several awards, including the William James Award for excellence in research from Division 36 (Psychology of Religion) of the American Psychological Association; the Oskar Pfitzer Award from the American Psychiatric Association in recognition of his efforts to foster the ties between religion and mental health; the Outstanding Contributor to Graduate Education at Bowling Green State University; the Lifetime Contribution Award from the Ohio Psychological Association in 2010, and; the National Samaritan Award, presented by the Samaritan Institute, in honor of his contributions to human health and growth.  Dr. Pargament has consulted with several foundations, the National Institutes of Health, the United States Army, and the World Health Organization. His  research has garnered national and international media attention, including coverage by the New York Times, Washington Post, London Times, Newsweek, and Scientific American.

Dr. Pargament received his Ph .D. in clinical psychology from the University of Maryland and interned in clinical psychology at Rutgers Medical School.  He completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in psychiatric epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

Dr. Pargament lives with his wife, Aileen, a clinical worker, in Toledo, Ohio. They have two sons, Jonathan and Benjamin.