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Methods of Religious Coping with the Gulf War: Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Analyses

Kenneth I. Pargament, Karen Ishler, Eric F. Dubow, Patti Stanik, Rebecca Rouiller, Patty Crowe, Ellen P. Cullman, Michael Albert and Betty J. Royster
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Vol. 33, No. 4 (Dec., 1994), pp. 347-361
DOI: 10.2307/1386494
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1386494
Page Count: 15
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Methods of Religious Coping with the Gulf War: Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Analyses
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Abstract

Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses were conducted to examine the relationship of religious and nonreligious coping methods to psychological distress among college students in the 1990-91 Gulf War crisis. Students completed measures of religious coping, nonreligious coping, and specific (war-related) and global psychological distress two days prior to the allied ground assault of Kuwait and one week after hostilities were suspended against Iraq. Religious coping activities were significant predictors of psychological distress cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Religious avoidant coping was associated with increased distress. Surprisingly, pleading for a miracle was tied to reduced distress over time. While religious and nonreligious coping were associated with each other, the two were not functionally redundant; each set of coping methods contributed unique variance to the prediction of distress. Differences between the cross-sectional and longitudinal findings suggest that stressful experiences may serve as a religious coping mobilizer and/or that the efficacy of religious coping methods may change over time. The results point to the need for finer-grained analyses of specific religious coping mechanisms in specific life situations.

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