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Negative Life Events, Patterns of Positive and Negative Religious Coping, and Psychological Functioning

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Religious coping may or may not be adaptive depending upon whether such coping is positive or negative. We investigated the potential moderating effects of positive and negative religious coping patterns on the relationship between negative life events and psychological functioning. Questionnaires included measures of negative life events, positive and negative religious coping, and psychological functioning, and were completed by 336 adult, Protestant church members. Even after controlling for religious participation, negative events were related to increased use of positive and negative religious coping and decreased psychological functioning. Moreover, negative events and positive religious coping produced an interaction effect on depression, such that the high use of positive religious coping buffered the deleterious effects of negative events.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Jeffrey P. Bjorck, Professor of Psychology, Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary, 180 North Oakland Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101., Email: 2: John W. Thurman is a clinical psychologist in private practice with Psychological Consulting Services, 112 E. Myrtle Avenue 508, Johnson City, TN 37601., Email:

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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