Role of Religiosity in the Lives of the Low-Income Population: A Comprehensive Review of the Evidence. Other Mental Health Outcomes

07/10/2009

While the majority of studies focus on the effects of religiosity and spirituality on depression and overall mental health, there are five additional studies that examine other mental health outcomes including suicide attempts, psychological distress and adaptation, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Four of these five studies find that religiosity is significantly positively associated with reductions in negative mental health outcomes (suicide attempts and psychological distress) and increases in positive mental health outcomes (psychological adaptation). One study highlights the importance of distinguishing between positive and negative religious coping strategies (Bradley, Schwartz, & Kaslow, 2005). In this study of low-income African American women who experienced intimate partner violence, positive religious coping, measured by an index of respondents connections with God and the extent of focus on religion instead of problems, is not associated with higher levels of PTSD symptoms. In contrast, negative religious coping, measured by feelings of abandonment by God and questioning the power of God, is associated with increased PTSD symptoms.

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