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Religious Coping Among the Religious: The Relationships Between Religious Coping and Well-Being in a National Sample of Presbyterian Clergy, Elders, and Members

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This study examined whether the relationships between religious coping and well-being are moderated by the salience of religion to the individual's identity and social roles. As part of a national survey of Presbyterians, 1,260 clergy, 823 elders, and 735 members completed measures of demographic variables, global religiousness, life stressors, positive and negative religious coping, and well-being (positive affect, depressive affect, religious satisfaction). Our predictions were largely confirmed. First, clergy reported higher levels of positive religious coping than elders, who, in turn, indicated more positive religious coping than members. Second, positive and negative religious coping were associated with higher and lower levels of well-being respectively. Finally, positive and negative religious coping were more strongly related to well-being for clergy than for members. Furthermore, the drawbacks of negative religious coping for the clergy were not offset completely by the benefits of positive religious coping. Longitudinal studies of the longer term implications of positive and negative religious coping are clearly warranted. The results also suggest the need for supportive and educational services to help clergy draw on their religious coping resources and come to terms with their spiritual struggles.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Kenneth I. Pargament is a Professor of Psychology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio 43403., Email: 2: Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio 43403., Email: 3: University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712-1088., Email: 4: Presbyterian Church USA, 100 Witherspoon, Louisville, Kentucky 40202-1396., Email:

Publication date: 2001-09-01

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