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Patterns of Positive and Negative Religious Coping with Major Life Stressors

Kenneth I. Pargament, Bruce W. Smith, Harold G. Koenig and Lisa Perez
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Vol. 37, No. 4 (Dec., 1998), pp. 710-724
DOI: 10.2307/1388152
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1388152
Page Count: 15
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Patterns of Positive and Negative Religious Coping with Major Life Stressors
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Abstract

This study attempted to identify positive and negative patterns of religious coping methods, develop a brief measure of these religious coping patterns, and examine their implications for health and adjustment. Through exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, positive and negative religious coping patterns were identified in samples of people coping with the Oklahoma City bombing, college students coping with major life stressors, and elderly hospitalized patients coping with serious medical illnesses. A 14-item measure of positive and negative patterns of religious coping methods (Brief RCOPE) was constructed. The positive pattern consisted of religious forgiveness, seeking spiritual support, collaborative religious coping, spiritual connection, religious purification, and benevolent religious reappraisal. The negative pattern was defined by spiritual discontent, punishing God reappraisals, interpersonal religious discontent, demonic reappraisal, and reappraisal of God's powers. As predicted, people made more use of the positive than the negative religious coping methods. Furthermore, the two patterns had different implications for health and adjustment. The Brief RCOPE offers an efficient, theoretically meaningful way to integrate religious dimensions into models and studies of stress, coping, and health.

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