New Lab article in Review of Religious Research

A new article by Lab Director Wendy Cadge and Research Manager Amy Lawton is now available in Review of Religious Research. This article stems from the Lab’s ongoing work on covenantal pluralism, supported by Templeton Religion Trust. You can find “The Persistence of Religion as a Master Status for Chaplains” here; a citation and abstract are below.

Cadge, W. & Lawton, A. (2023). The Persistence of Religion as a Master Status for Chaplains. Review of Religious Research, 0(0).


The chaplain’s role, as perceived by chaplains, is well-studied. The ways in which care-recipients understand the chaplain’s role is not. This article analyzes interviews with 38 people who interacted with chaplains. We find that respondents understood the chaplain’s job to be multidimensional. We describe this multidimensionality through a “jobs to be done” framework showing that chaplains offer social listening, emotional comfort, and functional practical religious support. From the perspective of care recipients, religion defines the master status of chaplains, a perspective different from that of chaplains themselves. Respondents felt that religion was the least ambiguous part of their interaction with a chaplain. These findings complicate scholarly and personal narratives that center “presence” rather than religion when talking about chaplaincy and spiritual care. We suggest that chaplains could mitigate professional identity tensions by centering desires for religious and spiritual care.