Stressful Events and Religious/Spiritual Struggle: Moderating Effects of the General Orienting System

Kelly M. Trevino, Kenneth I. Pargament, Neal Krause, Gail Ironson, Peter Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Religious/spiritual struggle (R/S struggle) often occurs in the context of stressful life events and is consistently associated with higher levels of psychological distress. However, little is known about the factors that cushion or exacerbate the effects of stressful life events on R/S struggle. The orienting system is an individual's general way of viewing and dealing with the world and includes resources and burdens for handling stressful events. This study examines the moderating effect of emotional, social, spiritual, behavioral, and cognitive domains of the orienting system on the relationship between stressful life events and R/S struggle in a cross-sectional study of a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. Multiple indicators of each domain were examined. The results indicated that emotional (anger, death anxiety), social (social isolation), behavioral (smoking status), and spiritual (insecure relationship with God) burdens moderated the relationship between stressful life events and R/S struggle. Cognitive (self-esteem, optimism), social (emotional support), and spiritual (religious hope) resources did not moderate this relationship. These results indicate that multiple components of the orienting system function as burdens that magnify the relationship between stressful life events and R/S struggle. Further, these findings point to potential clinical targets for reducing the intensity of R/S struggle in the context of stressful life events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychology of Religion and Spirituality
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Nov 30 2017

Keywords

  • Burdens
  • Religious/spiritual struggle
  • Resources
  • Stressful events

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Religious studies
  • Applied Psychology

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