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Resource loss, religiousness, health, and posttraumatic growth following Hurricane Katrina

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Abstract

This study examined associations among resource loss, religiousness (including general religiousness, religious comfort, and religious strain), posttraumatic growth (PTG), and physical and mental health among a sample of Mississippi university students soon after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast in 2005. Resource loss was negatively associated with health, but positively associated with PTG. Religious comfort was associated with positive outcomes, and religious strain was associated with negative outcomes. Religious comfort buffered the negative effects of resource loss on emotional health. Ancillary analyses indicated that associations between resource loss and health were mediated by religious strain. Implications of this research are described for mental health practitioners engaged in disaster recovery work.

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... There has been a relative dearth of empirical work examining spiritual factors that may likewise exacerbate or buffer the effects of natural disasters. This is surprising given that spirituality has been identified to be an important source of resilience across a variety of samples and stressors (e.g., Aten, O'Grady, Milstein, Boan, & Schruba, 2014;Cook, Aten, Moore, Hook, & Davis, 2013;Sibley, Bulbulia, & Sánchez, 2012). The purpose of this brief report is to extend theorising on resource loss (Hobfoll, 2001) by examining how spiritualitynamely, one's attachment to Godmay buffer individuals from experiencing a loss of psychological resources (e.g., sense of purpose, optimism) after experiencing a loss of tangible resources (e.g., food/water, shelter, sentimental, and physical possessions) due to Hurricane Katrina. ...
... Research on conservation of resources theory has focused on a variety of personal and contextual factors that can influence perceived resource loss (Carver, 1993;Cook et al., 2013;Kaiser, Sattler, Bellack, & Dersin, 1996), but less work has examined how spirituality can affect the ongoing process of appraising and coping with resource loss after a natural disaster (cf. Wadsworth, Santiago, & Einhorn, 2009;Walsh, 2007). ...
... For example, a disaster may cause someone to view the world as less safe and predicable. Spirituality can buffer individuals from experiencing distress in the wake of a major stressor (Haynes et al., 2016); however, when individuals cannot reconcile their experiences (e.g., God seems angry and vengeful) with their spiritual beliefs (e.g., religious teachings suggest God is good and benevolent), then psychological distress can result (Bjorck & Thurman, 2007;Cook et al., 2013). ...
Article
The present study examined the impact of losing tangible resources on psychological resources in a sample of college students (n = 160) affected by Hurricane Katrina. The data was collected approximately five months after the storm. Based on conservation of resources theory, we tested whether the loss of tangible resources (e.g., food, water) would be positively related to the loss of psychological resources (e.g., optimism, hope), and whether this association would be exacerbated by having an insecure (anxious or avoidant) attachment to God. As predicted, loss of tangible resources was related to the loss of psychological resources, and this relationship was amplified in participants who had an avoidant attachment to God. We conclude by discussing implications of the present study and areas for future research.
... Prior research on exposure to disasters has revealed that resource loss, which includes psychological constructs such as sense of control, influences mental health outcomes such as depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic symptoms (Sattler et al., 2006;Sattler et al., 2002). Likewise, prior disaster research has found that religious/spiritual constructs can buffer the relationship between resource loss and mental health symptoms (Cook, Aten, Moore, Hook, & Davis, 2013;Haynes, et al., 2017). The purpose of the present study was to replicate this finding within the context of indirect exposure to gun violence (i.e., not directly involved or witnessing the shooting). ...
... Trauma survivors may feel support from the Sacred (i.e., God or whatever the person considers the object of their spiritual connection), religious leaders, or members of their religious community (Bryant-Davis et al., 2013). In a study on survivors of Hurricane Katrina, religious comfort buffered the relationship between resource loss and mental health symptoms (Cook et al., 2013). Mass shootings could be construed as a human-caused disaster, and it is unclear whether these findings would replicate within this context. ...
... Accordingly, the purpose of the present study was to apply the theorizing of Cook et al. (2013) to the context of a mass shooting. We expected that resource loss-especially the subscales associated with personal characteristics and conditions-would be associated with greater mental health symptoms, including religious/ spiritual struggle, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. ...
Article
Objective: Religion has been shown to protect against the negative effects of traumatic events. The current pilot study explored the extent to which religious support (i.e., sense of comfort and support from the Sacred, religious leaders, and fellow faith participants) buffered against the indirect negative psychological symptoms (i.e., religious/spiritual struggle, depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD]) following the 2015 mass shooting on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. Method: The study examined 34 individuals (12 male, 22 female) that were indirectly affected by the mass shooting (i.e., did not directly witness the shooting and were not physically harmed by the shooting), recruited from the surrounding religious community. Participants completed measures of resource loss, religious support, religious and spiritual struggle, depression, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms. Results: Religious support buffered the relationship between resource loss and negative psychological symptoms for religious and spiritual struggle, depression, and PTSD symptoms but not anxiety. Conclusions: Religious and spiritual support may be an important factor for helping church-affiliated individuals cope with the negative effects of resource loss that occur when a community is affected by a mass shooting. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
... Whereas positive R/S coping behaviors (e.g., seeking God's love or assistance with anger/worry) "reflect a secure relationship with a transcendent force, a sense of spiritual connectedness," negative R/S coping strategies (e.g., doubting God's power or feeling punished/abandoned by God) "reflect underlying spiritual tensions and struggles within oneself, with others, and with the divine" (Pargament, Feuille, & Burdzy, 2011, p. 51). In a study examining R/S coping in a rapid-onset disaster (Cook, Aten, Moore, Hook, & Davis, 2013), negative coping partially explained how DRL predicted negative psychological adjustment while positive coping protected against the effects of DRL. In the context of drought, survivors have used positive R/S coping such as prayer and rainmaking ceremonies to ease their physical and psychological stress (Fleurett, 1986;Zarafshani, Gorgeievski, & Zamani, 2007). ...
... R/S worldviews and behaviors can influence how individuals experience DRL, as well as their process of recovery. This has been shown for rapid-onset disasters (e.g., Aten, Bennett, Hill, Davis, & Hook, 2012;Cook et al., 2013;ter Kuile & Ehring, 2014); the present study has extended these findings to the context of drought, a chronic, ongoing disaster which may continue to engender active DRL. This study explored this influence in several ways: the impact that DRL has on trauma symptoms, the contributions that positive and negative R/S coping have on those impacts, and the role of a survivor's active meaning-focused coping. ...
... This study explored this influence in several ways: the impact that DRL has on trauma symptoms, the contributions that positive and negative R/S coping have on those impacts, and the role of a survivor's active meaning-focused coping. In general, results validated those relationships expected from research on rapid-onset disasters (i.e., Cook et al., 2013), but did offer nuanced findings for those still dealing with the impacts of an ongoing stressor. In summary, study hypotheses were not disproven; the relationships discussed in the literature (and expected because of the specific wording of the instruments) were observed in this sample of Batswana who experienced chronic drought. ...
Article
Objective. This study explored the trauma symptoms of those who have endured a multi-year drought in Botswana, an arid, pastoral, and primarily Christian Southern African nation. Particularly, this study utilized conservation of resources theory to consider the effects of disaster-related resource loss (DRL) and the psychology of religion literature to investigate the roles of religious or spiritual (R/S) and meaning-focused coping. Method. Three-hundred undergraduates in Botswana completed culturally adapted measures of their DRL, positive and negative R/S coping, search for meaning in life (meaning-focused coping), lifetime trauma exposure, and current trauma symptoms. Data was collected in the fourth year of the record setting drought. Results. Hierarchical regression analysis was used to add predictors sequentially, and demonstrated that both DRL of energies (e.g., time, money) and coping behaviors (both negative R/S and meaning-focused) positively predicted current trauma symptoms beyond one’s personal trauma exposure. Further, positive R/S coping was observed to moderate (buffer) the influence of DRL on trauma symptoms, while negative R/S and meaning-focused coping appeared to partially mediate the influence of DRL. Conclusion. This study extends research on DRL and coping to the context of chronic disasters. A nuanced treatment of resource loss (accounting for specific item wordings) suggests that although DRL in general may influence negative R/S coping, only some types of resource loss (energetic) from an ongoing-chronic disaster both affect one’s current meaning-focused coping and trauma symptoms. In contrast to negative R/S coping behaviors (e.g. doubt), positive ones (e.g. seeking divine connection) were shown to mitigate those effects. Keywords: Chronic disaster, resource loss, religious coping, search for meaning
... For religious struggles relating to one's relationship with God, responses may range from feelings of confusion and anger toward God, questioning God's sovereignty and benevolence, to loss of faith and apostasy Aten et al., 2012;Seirmarco et al., 2012). As having a "connection with God is of ultimate value" to many who are religious (Hill and Pargament, 2003, p. 67), an encounter that challenges one's assumptions about and relationship with God could have a significant impact on emotional and psychological well-being (Abu-Raiya et al., 2016;Cook et al., 2013). Feelings of anger toward God after traumatic events have been linked to a variety of negative physical and psychological symptoms, including: depressive thoughts and poorer adjustment ; complicated grief, post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorders (Seirmarco et al., 2012); and reduced health outcomes (Sibley and Bulbulia, 2012). ...
... Disasters cause significant damage and destruction, including loss of life, injury, and disruption of livelihood activities, as well as causing significant emotional and psychological trauma (Aten et al., 2012;Wilson and Moran, 1998). During the post-disaster recovery period, survivors need to rebuild their homes and lives, while trying to make sense of their experiences (Cook et al., 2013). ...
... Interestingly, in a study of Norwegian tourists who experienced the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the severity of disaster exposure was a key factor linked to both stronger and weaker religious beliefs in the post-disaster context (Hussain et al., 2011). Further, Cook et al. (2013) found that how individuals engage with their religion, particularly whether individuals maintained a positive relationship with God (as opposed to general religiousness), was an important variable for explaining positive adjustment and buffering of losses associated with a disaster. These studies highlight the complexity of interacting and complicating factors that can influence how a traumatic experience such as a disaster can influence one's relationship with God. ...
Article
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Purpose This paper examines religious struggles and loss of faith in Christian survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and explores whether any demographic characteristics or experiences during the disaster may have contributed to these responses. Design/methodology/approach A quantitative survey was used to assess a variety of concepts related to religious responses after disaster. Data were collected using a mix of non-random, convenience sampling methods, with a total sample of 1,929 responses. Findings Religious struggles, anger towards God, and apostasy after the typhoon was generally low, although a significant minority of respondents expressed feelings of confusion about God and wondered whether God cared about them. Factors that influenced the experience of religious struggles included: education level, socio-economic status, denomination, barangay, loss of loved ones in the disaster, format of post-disaster church fellowship meetings, and the importance of God in their lives prior to the disaster. Practical implications Having an appropriate and supportive faith-based environment for those of faith to work through religious struggles is important for supporting emotional and psychological recovery after disaster. Originality/value This study explores how disasters can impact individuals’ beliefs and their relationship with God in a non-Western context. This information enhances our understanding on how humanitarian and faith-based organizations can help support emotional and psychological recovery among impacted populations, particularly those who experience struggles.
... For religious struggles relating to one's relationship with God, responses may range from feelings of confusion and anger toward God, questioning God's sovereignty and benevolence, to loss of faith and apostasy Aten et al., 2012;Seirmarco et al., 2012). As having a "connection with God is of ultimate value" to many who are religious (Hill and Pargament, 2003, p. 67), an encounter that challenges one's assumptions about and relationship with God could have a significant impact on emotional and psychological well-being (Abu-Raiya et al., 2016;Cook et al., 2013). Feelings of anger toward God after traumatic events have been linked to a variety of negative physical and psychological symptoms, including: depressive thoughts and poorer adjustment ; complicated grief, post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorders (Seirmarco et al., 2012); and reduced health outcomes (Sibley and Bulbulia, 2012). ...
... Disasters cause significant damage and destruction, including loss of life, injury, and disruption of livelihood activities, as well as causing significant emotional and psychological trauma (Aten et al., 2012;Wilson and Moran, 1998). During the post-disaster recovery period, survivors need to rebuild their homes and lives, while trying to make sense of their experiences (Cook et al., 2013). ...
... Interestingly, in a study of Norwegian tourists who experienced the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the severity of disaster exposure was a key factor linked to both stronger and weaker religious beliefs in the post-disaster context (Hussain et al., 2011). Further, Cook et al. (2013) found that how individuals engage with their religion, particularly whether individuals maintained a positive relationship with God (as opposed to general religiousness), was an important variable for explaining positive adjustment and buffering of losses associated with a disaster. These studies highlight the complexity of interacting and complicating factors that can influence how a traumatic experience such as a disaster can influence one's relationship with God. ...
Article
Full-text available
PURPOSE: This paper examines religious struggles and loss of faith in Christian survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and explores whether any demographic characteristics or experiences during the disaster may have contributed to these responses. DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH: A quantitative survey was used to assess a variety of concepts related to religious responses after disaster. Data were collected using a mix of non-random, convenience sampling methods, with a total sample of 1,929 responses. FINDINGS: Religious struggles, anger towards God, and apostasy after the typhoon was generally low, although a significant minority of respondents expressed feelings of confusion about God and wondered whether God cared about them. Factors that influenced the experience of religious struggles included: education level, socio-economic status, denomination, barangay, loss of loved ones in the disaster, format of post-disaster church fellowship meetings, and the importance of God in their lives prior to the disaster. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: Having an appropriate and supportive faith-based environment for those of faith to work through religious struggles is important for supporting emotional and psychological recovery after disaster. ORIGINALITY/VALUE: This study explores how disasters can impact individuals’ beliefs and their relationship with God in a non-Western context. This information enhances our understanding on how humanitarian and faith-based organizations can help support emotional and psychological recovery among impacted populations, particularly those who experience struggles.
... Religious doubt is a negative form of religious coping [24] and has been shown to exacerbate mental health concerns [25,37]. For instance, among both racial groups religious samples, religious doubt has been identified as a risk factor for poor psychological adjustment [37] and greater psychological distress [25]. ...
... Religious doubt is a negative form of religious coping [24] and has been shown to exacerbate mental health concerns [25,37]. For instance, among both racial groups religious samples, religious doubt has been identified as a risk factor for poor psychological adjustment [37] and greater psychological distress [25]. While some theorize that religious doubt has a greater effect on those more deeply, religiously involved [38], such as Black communities, previous research has actually found religious doubt to have a more deleterious effect on White samples, a group that is typically less religiously involved [30]. ...
... The current study provided evidence for a negative assessment of religiosity (i.e., religious doubt) as a mediator in the relationship between death anxiety and depressive symptoms, warranting further investigations on how aspects of religion may influence psychological well-being in a sample that identifies as highly religious. Though some have argued that religious doubt may not always be detrimental [23,49], studies have consistently found religious doubt to be correlated with negative mental health [8,9,25,37]. In this way, could other, negative aspects of religiosity (e.g., feeling punished by God) also partially explain the link between death anxiety and depressive symptoms? ...
Article
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The purpose of this study is to investigate the direct and indirect relationships among death anxiety, religious doubt, and depressive symptoms in older adults. This study also investigates race as a moderator for these relationships. This study used data from the Religion, Aging, and Health Survey. Participants identified as Christian, identified as Black or White, lived in a non-institutionalized household within the U.S., were retired, and spoke English. Using PROCESS, results revealed that religious doubt partially mediated the relationship between death anxiety and depressive symptoms. Furthermore, moderated mediation models revealed that race moderated the relationship between religious doubt and depressive symptoms. Specifically, there was significant, positive relationship between religious doubt and depressive symptoms for participants who identified as Black but not White. Results highlight how religious doubt can influence depressive outcomes among the geriatric communities of color. Limitations and future directions are also discussed.
... For instance, potentially traumatic events sometimes evoke negative R/S attributions (e.g., God caused this event; God was unable or unwilling to stop this event) that place substantial strain on the divineattachment relationship, perhaps to extent of temporarily or permanently disrupting that bond (e.g., Spilka, Shaver, & Kirkpatrick, 1985). Thus, the way disaster survivors engage the sacred may have direct implications for resilience (see Cook, Aten, Moore, Hook, & Davis, 2013). ...
... Individual differences (e.g., ethnicity, gender, and age) and R/S variables (e.g., self-God overlap, God control, R/S attributions, religious orientation) were found to influence (i.e., moderate) or explain (i.e., mediate) spiritual and psychological outcomes (e.g., Feder et al., 2013). Furthermore, social-and community-level variables (e.g., religious involvement); and disaster/stressor-related variables (e.g., resource loss, prior stressful life events) may play an important role in determining outcomes (e.g., Cook et al., 2013). ...
Article
Objective: The purpose of this systematic review is to synthesize the existing empirical psychology of religion/spirituality (R/S) and disaster research and offer a prospectus for future research. Method: Searches were conducted in PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, Medline databases, and through personal communication with study authors covering a period from 1975 (from the earliest identified study meeting our criteria) to 2015. Studies that took an empirical approach to studying the impact of disasters on R/S phenomena, as well as the relationship between R/S phenomena, cognition, behavior, and well-being in disaster contexts were included. Results: A total of 51 articles met the inclusion criteria. We organized the empirical findings under five main categories, which emerged from sorting studies by their primary R/S focus: (a) general religiousness, (b) God representations, (c) religious appraisals, (d) R/S meaning making, and (e) religious coping. On the whole, R/S appears to generally lead to positive outcomes among disaster survivors. Results suggest positive benefits of R/S comes more from how one engages faith and access to resources via R/S communities. Conclusions: This review revealed several emerging patterns regarding what is known as well as existing gaps in the literature, including the need for more rigorous methodological designs and ongoing systematic programs of study. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
... RC refers to a feeling of being loved by God, a sense of belonging to a religious community, and a sense of being forgiven. RC may buffer the negative effects of stressors such as depressive episodes (Cook, Aten, Moore, Hook, & Davis, 2013) and contribute to perceptions of posttraumatic growth (Ogden et al., 2011). For example, in a study of Mississippi university students following Hurricane Katrina, RC was associated with positive outcomes (e.g., physical health and perceived posttraumatic growth ;Cook, et al., 2013). ...
... RC may buffer the negative effects of stressors such as depressive episodes (Cook, Aten, Moore, Hook, & Davis, 2013) and contribute to perceptions of posttraumatic growth (Ogden et al., 2011). For example, in a study of Mississippi university students following Hurricane Katrina, RC was associated with positive outcomes (e.g., physical health and perceived posttraumatic growth ;Cook, et al., 2013). In addition, other evidence from Cook et al.'s work suggested that RC buffered the negative impact of material losses on students' emotional health (i.e., relationship between resource loss and emotional health was less strong for students who had more RC). ...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the role of religion in mental illness has always been complicated, as some people turn to religion to cope with their illness, whereas others turn away. The overarching purpose of this study was to draw on quantitative and qualitative information to illuminate ways in which religiousness might be associated with changes in depressive symptomatology in a spiritually integrated inpatient treatment program. This repeated measures mixed method study examined the relations among religious comfort (RC), religious strain (RS), and depression in an inpatient psychiatric sample. Adult inpatients (N = 248; Mage = 40.78 years; SD = 18.97) completed measures of RC, RS, and depression at pre- and posttreatment. Focusing on patient responses to open-ended questions regarding spiritual perspectives on their mental illness, qualitative themes were deduced via content analytic coding procedures to further clarify quantitative findings. Autoregressive cross-lagged panel models were used to test potential reciprocal influences among RC, RS, and depressive symptomatology between admission and discharge. Scores on RS decreased, whereas scores on RC increased. At both intake and discharge, depression was inversely associated with RC and directly correlated with RS. In addition, RC on admission was inversely associated with depressive symptom severity at discharge, whereas RS on admission did not predict later depression. Religious affiliation was also positively associated with RC. This is the first study to document a direct association between RS and depression, along with an inverse association with RC, in an inpatient psychiatric sample.
... Disaster research on PTG is usually limited by the same limitations that plague research on PTG more broadly (Mangelsdorf, Eid, & Luhmann, 2019). Most existing studies have used a cross-sectional methodology and post hoc self-reports of perceived PTG Cook, Aten, Moore, Hook, & Davis, 2013). Even among the few longitudinal studies, PTG is typically assessed via retrospective self-reports of growth. ...
... First, most existing studies have assessed only perceived PTG (e.g., Hafstad, Gil-Rivas, Kilmer, & Raeder, 2010) and not actual PTG; no studies have compared both, which we will. Second, almost all studies have used a cross-sectional, postdisaster-only design (e.g., Cook et al., 2013), and virtually no longitudinal studies of postdisaster PTG have included predisaster data. We report findings from two longitudinal studies-one using a two-wave, postdisaster-only design (Study 1) and one using a three-wave, predisaster-inclusive design (Study 2). ...
Article
Full-text available
Natural disasters, including floods, affect entire communities and often lead survivors to report symptoms of posttraumatic stress (PTS). Although the vast majority of disaster research focuses on negative emotional outcomes, individuals may simultaneously experience positive outcomes such as posttraumatic growth (PTG). This study examined the influence of attitudes toward God (i.e., positive attitudes toward God and disappointment/anger with God) on perceived PTG and PTS following the 2016 floods in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (N = 416). Hierarchical regressions revealed that flood exposure and attitudes toward God predicted perceived PTG and PTS. In addition, disappointment/anger with God helped to moderate the relationship between flood exposure and perceived PTG in flood survivors. Findings underscore the role that counselors can play in facilitating growth in disaster survivors and in processing spiritual topics with clients when relevant.
... Survivors commonly engage R/S themes as they make sense of distressing events (Park, 2016;Stephens et al., 2013). For instance, research indicates survivors may (a) re-examine how they view and experience God (Aten, Bennett, Hill, Davis, & Hook, 2012;Aten et al., 2008;Newton & McIntosh, 2009); (b) consider God's possible role in the disaster's cause and effects (Marks, Cherry, & Silva, 2009;Smith, Pargament, Brant, & Oliver, 2000;Stephens et al., 2013); (c) employ positive and negative religious coping methods (Cook, Aten, Moore, Hook, & Davis, 2013;Feder et al., 2013;Henslee et al., 2015;Lawson & Thomas, 2007); (d) rely on religious communities and organizations for emotional and instrumental support (Meisenhelder & Marcum, 2009;Tausch et al., 2011); and (e) use religious attachment behaviors (e.g. prayer) to receive care, help, and guidance from God (Granqvist & Kirkpatrick, 2016). ...
... This study's findings were somewhat discrepant from previous studies of R/S responses to disasters (e.g. Aten et al., 2012;Cook et al., 2013;Feder et al., 2013;Sibley & Bulbulia, 2012) in that an unusually low number of participants evidenced authoritarian God representations (e.g. views or experiences of God as wrathful or punitive), negative religious coping (e.g. ...
Article
The goal of this longitudinal qualitative study was to develop a grounded theory of religious meaning making and attachment in a disaster context. At 1-month (T1; n = 36) and 6-months postdisaster (T2; n = 29), we conducted in-depth interviews with a highly religious sample of adult survivors of the 2016 Louisiana flood, using a disaster-adapted version of the Religious Attachment Interview. We utilized Corbin and Strauss’s grounded-theory approach for data analysis. At both timepoints, results revealed that survivors who were theistic believers engaged in postdisaster religious meaning making in which they drew on benevolent God representations and theodicies to appraise the disaster’s cause, purpose, and religious-attachment effects, thereby contributing to positive religious-attachment outcomes (religious meanings made; e.g. renewed beliefs and experiences of God’s benevolence and providence). Findings are discussed in terms of theories and research on disasters, meaning making, and religious attachment, including implications for research and practice.
... Disaster research on PTG is usually limited by the same limitations that plague research on PTG more broadly (Mangelsdorf, Eid, & Luhmann, 2019). Most existing studies have used a cross-sectional methodology and post hoc self-reports of perceived PTG Cook, Aten, Moore, Hook, & Davis, 2013). Even among the few longitudinal studies, PTG is typically assessed via retrospective self-reports of growth. ...
... First, most existing studies have assessed only perceived PTG (e.g., Hafstad, Gil-Rivas, Kilmer, & Raeder, 2010) and not actual PTG; no studies have compared both, which we will. Second, almost all studies have used a cross-sectional, postdisaster-only design (e.g., Cook et al., 2013), and virtually no longitudinal studies of postdisaster PTG have included predisaster data. We report findings from two longitudinal studies-one using a two-wave, postdisaster-only design (Study 1) and one using a three-wave, predisaster-inclusive design (Study 2). ...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Religious/spiritual (R/S) growth is a core domain of posttraumatic growth (PTG). However, research on R/S growth following disasters has over-relied on retrospective self-reports of growth. We therefore examined longitudinal change in religiousness/spirituality following two disasters. Method: Religious survivors of Hurricanes Harvey (Study 1) and Irma (Study 2) completed measures of perceived R/S PTG, general religiousness/spirituality ("current standing"-R/S PTG), and subfacets of religiousness/spirituality (spiritual fortitude, religious motivations, and benevolent theodicies). In Study 1,451 participants responded at 1-month and 2-months postdisaster. In Study 2, participants responded within 5-days predisaster and at 1-month (N = 1,144) and 6-months postdisaster (N = 684). Results: In both studies, perceived R/S PTG was weakly related to longitudinal increases in general religiousness/spirituality and most of its subfacets, but reliable growth in any R/S outcome was rare. Additionally, Study 2 revealed evidence that actual change in psychological well-being is associated with actual (but not perceived) R/S PTG, but disaster survivors tend to exhibit declines in their R/S, spiritual fortitude, and religious motivations. Conclusions: Results suggest disaster survivors are only modestly accurate in perceiving how much positive R/S change they experience following a disaster. We discuss implications for clinical practice, research, and empirical and conceptual work on PTG more broadly.
... RC refers to a feeling of being loved by God, a sense of belonging to a religious community, and a sense of being forgiven. RC may buffer the negative effects of stressors such as depressive episodes (Cook, Aten, Moore, Hook, & Davis, 2013) and contribute to perceptions of posttraumatic growth (Ogden et al., 2011). For example, in a study of Mississippi university students following Hurricane Katrina, RC was associated with positive outcomes (e.g., physical health and perceived posttraumatic growth ;Cook, et al., 2013). ...
... RC may buffer the negative effects of stressors such as depressive episodes (Cook, Aten, Moore, Hook, & Davis, 2013) and contribute to perceptions of posttraumatic growth (Ogden et al., 2011). For example, in a study of Mississippi university students following Hurricane Katrina, RC was associated with positive outcomes (e.g., physical health and perceived posttraumatic growth ;Cook, et al., 2013). In addition, other evidence from Cook et al.'s work suggested that RC buffered the negative impact of material losses on students' emotional health (i.e., relationship between resource loss and emotional health was less strong for students who had more RC). ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Persons contending with serious mental health difficulties often experience struggles with religious faith and/or spirituality that may also demand clinical attention. However, research has not examined the relative importance of specific forms of spiritual struggles in mental health status or treatment outcomes of psychiatric patients. Methods: Focusing on 217 adults who completed a spiritually integrated inpatient program, this study examined (1) which struggles in Exline et al.’s (2014) framework (Divine, Morality, Ultimate Meaning, Interpersonal, Demonic, and Doubting) represented the most salient indicators of major depressive disorder (MDD) symptomatology and positive mental health (PMH) and (2) whether alleviation of these struggles predicted improvements in patients’ mental health status over the treatment period. Results: Greater severity of spiritual struggles was generally associated with worse MDD symptomatology and less PMH at intake and discharge. However, when weighing the role of varying forms of struggles, issues with ultimate meaning emerged as a salient indicator of mental health status at the two assessments as well as longitudinal changes in both MDD symptomatology and PMH. Limitations: This sample was recruited from acute stabilization units in a single spiritually integrated behavioral health center with a general affiliation with Christianity. Hence, treatment periods were relatively brief in some cases and findings might not generalize to other psychiatric programs or settings. Conclusions: Findings highlight the utility of assessing prominent forms of spiritual distress for planning and delivering psychosocial interventions, particularly with respect to issues related to a perceived absence of ultimate meaning in life.
... In 2005, Hurricane Katrina killed over 1,800 peo ple and resulted in millions of dollars of damage (Cook, Aten, Moore, Hook, & Davis, 2013). The social and economic fabric of communities along the Gulf coast was disrupted by the pandemonium and confusion that followed. ...
... The Public Health Burden of Unforgiveness in Disasters Disasters and crises are often followed by unfor giveness. Disasters and crises are clearly stressful, often characterized by psychological loss, material resource loss (Cook et al., 2013), relational loss, and social loss. All these losses place demands on individuals, families, communities, and nations to recover them (Lazarus, 1999). ...
Article
In this conceptual article, we argue that some people are resilient in the face of disasters while others are not. Resilience may necessitate forgiveness—of perpetrators of interpersonal harms (e.g., Rwandan Genocide in 1994); of inadequate responder assistance (e.g., Hurricane Katrina); or in situations where community members perceive themselves as victims of offense by virtue of their group affiliation, although they themselves were not actually harmed (e.g., survivors of school shootings). Victims may experience unforgiveness toward others in human-caused disasters and may deal with unforgiveness toward God in natural disasters. Forgiveness may be an effective response to disaster-related injustices that promotes resilience. We used a meta-analysis of forgiveness interventions and an empirical study of awareness-raising campaigns on college campuses to estimate the effects of forgiveness on public health, public mental health, relationships, and spirituality across society after disasters. We advocate for forgiveness as one of many potential resilient responses. Specifically, forgiveness could potentially transform unforgiveness into a stronger sense of purpose and improved social relations.
... Thus, we examined two more specific predictions. First, we predicted that greater disasterrelated resource loss would be related to greater posttraumatic stress, consistent with the well-replicated finding that resource loss predicts postdisaster psychological distress (e.g., Chan & Rhodes, 2014;Cook, Aten, Moore, Hook, & Davis, 2013). Second, we predicted that spiritual meaning would moderate this relationship. ...
Article
Religious and spiritual beliefs serve a number of functions, including promoting mental health in the wake of negative life events. We explore the “meaning as a buffer” hypothesis, which posits that (spiritual) meaning will shield individuals from the negative psychological consequences associated with adversity. Building on Park’s (2010) meaning making model, we investigated whether spiritual meaning can buffer the effect of disaster-related resource loss on posttraumatic stress. Survivors of Hurricane Katrina (N = 485) completed measures of resource loss, spiritual meaning and peace, and posttraumatic stress 3–4 months after the disaster. Survivors who reported experiencing higher spiritual meaning following the disaster reported significantly less severe posttraumatic stress in response to resource loss, relative to survivors who reported lower spiritual meaning and peace. Put differently, spiritual meaning and peace buffered the deleterious effect of disaster-related resource loss on mental health symptoms. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
... 1:3-4; James 1:2-5). Some preliminary research has shown that struggles associated with going through a disaster may also create opportunities for spiritual growth (e.g., Cook, Aten, Moore, Hook, & Davis, 2013). Denney, Aten, and Leavell (2011) found that survivors who had gone through a personal "disaster" (i.e., cancer) not only reported experiencing spiritual growth, but also reported signs of spiritual growth among those closest to them. ...
Article
Disasters are an ever-present part of the broken world that we inhabit. Research has shown that churches often play an important role in providing spiritual and emotional care in the wake of disasters. Over the last decade much has been written about disaster spiritual care. Though a few of these resources draw from Scripture, an integrative framework is lacking in this burgeoning body of literature. In this article, we provide some preliminary considerations of disasters and suffering based on a sampling of biblical narratives and we offer psychologically informed recommendations for providing disaster spiritual care. We can respond to suffering in any number of ways: indifference, blaming the survivor, feeling overwhelmed, and/or seeking ways to intervene helpfully. We contend that Christians have an obligation to offer tangible help when we are able to do so in times of catastrophe. We further argue that following Jesus compels us to be careful of the attitudes we have towards those who suffer. Our hope is that this article will help spark theological exploration of disaster spiritual and emotional care and will spur Christians to provide wise, compassionate care to those affected by disasters.
... Thus, we examined two more specific predictions. First, we predicted that greater disaster -related resource loss would be related to greater posttraumatic stress, consistent with the well-replicated finding that resource loss predicts post-disaster psychological distress (e.g., Chan & Rhodes, 2014;Cook et al., 2013). Second, we predicted that spiritual meaning would moderate this relationship. ...
... Among trauma survivors, religious strain is a positive predictor of trauma symptoms, even when accounting for differences in levels of trauma exposure (Harris et al., 2008). On the other hand, there is evidence that religious comfort may buffer the negative effects of stressors (Cook, Aten, Moore, Hoot, & Davis, 2013) and contribute to posttraumatic growth (Ogden et al., 2011). ...
Article
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Recent research shows that religious and spiritual variables are related to adjustment among those who have experienced trauma (Harris et al., 2008). It is also known that social support influences posttraumatic adjustment (Frazier et al., 2011). Critics have argued that religious and spiritual variables primarily serve as a proxy for social support because individuals in spiritual communities access higher levels of social support than those with no such community (Bradley, Schwartz, & Kaslow, 2005). We sought to explore the interrelationships among these 3 domains by studying church members with histories of trauma exposure. We found that social support and religious comforts and strains are distinguishable. Social support, religious comfort, and religious fear and guilt make independent contributions to posttraumatic adjustment, whereas social support partially mediates the relationship between alienation from one's higher power, religious rifts, and trauma symptoms.
... Among trauma survivors, religious strain is a positive predictor of trauma symptoms, even when accounting for differences in levels of trauma exposure (Harris et al., 2008). On the other hand, there is evidence that religious comfort may buffer the negative effects of stressors (Cook, Aten, Moore, Hoot, & Davis, 2013) and contribute to posttraumatic growth (Ogden et al., 2011). ...
Article
Full-text available
Recent research shows that religious and spiritual variables are related to adjustment among those who have experienced trauma. It is also known that social support influences posttraumatic adjustment. Critics have argued that religious and spiritual variables primarily serve as a proxy for social support because individuals in spiritual communities access higher levels of social support than those with no such community. We sought to explore the interrelationships among these three domains by studying church members with histories of trauma exposure. We found that social support and religious comforts and strains are distinguishable. Social support, religious comfort, and religious fear and guilt make independent contributions to posttraumatic adjustment, while social support partially mediates the relationship between alienation from one’s Higher Power, religious rifts and trauma symptoms.
... In contrast, other survivors may have a generally positive religious attachment during the immediate aftermath of the disaster (which at times is even called the "honeymoon phase," Aten & Boan, 2015, p. 26) but then develop R/S struggles during the prolonged recovery phase. Indeed, several disaster studies (e.g., Cook, Aten, Moore, Hook, & Davis, 2013;Feder et al., 2013;Sibley & Bulbulia, 2012) have found that R/S struggle can be a risk factor for developing or exacerbating postdisaster psychopathology (e.g., PTSD). ...
Article
Objective: This longitudinal qualitative study explores the impact of natural disasters on religious attachment (perceived relationship with God). We sought to validate and conceptually extend the religion-as-attachment model in a postdisaster context. Method: At 4 weeks (T1; n = 36) and 6 months postdisaster (T2; n = 29), survivors of the 2016 Louisiana flood completed a disaster-adapted version of the Religious Attachment Interview (Granqvist & Main, 2017). Results: At T1 and T2, survivors emphasized God being a safe haven (source of protection, comfort, or nurturance). This emphasis was especially pronounced for survivors who were directly affected (their home or business flooded) or had previous disaster exposure to Hurricane Katrina. Overall, survivors consistently emphasized God serving as a stronger and wiser attachment figure, and it was rare for them to report experiencing perceived separation or loss of intimacy from God. At T1 and T2, around 85% of survivors described their current religious attachment as either having a positive affective quality (e.g., closer, stronger) or as no different from before the disaster; around 15% said it had a negative affective quality (e.g., disappointed, strained). In describing their postdisaster religion/spirituality, survivors highlighted (a) God being a source of love, comfort, strength, and hope; (b) actively putting trust/faith in God; and (c) experiencing God through family/community. Conclusion: Results support and conceptually extend the religion-as-attachment model in a postdisaster context. Findings suggest disasters activate the attachment system, and survivors commonly view and relate with God as an attachment figure, especially one who serves as a safe haven. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
... Finally, energies (e.g., money, time) support the acquisition of other resources. Following Hurricane Katrina, R/S struggles partially explained the link between resource loss and psychological distress, whereas positive religious coping buffered resource loss effects (Cook et al., 2013). During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, resource loss evidenced a stronger positive association with suffering at higher levels of positive religious coping, suggesting a complex relationship that warrants further study (Cowden, Rueger, et al., 2021). ...
Article
Physical and existential threats stemming from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may provoke religious/spiritual (R/S) struggles or exacerbate preexisting angst and questions. In the Global South, where pervasive social–structural disadvantages limit resource availability to mitigate psychosocial consequences, doubts about divine presence and purpose amidst suffering, loss, and uncertainty may be especially salient factors in spiritual and mental health. With two independent samples of Colombians and South Africans recruited during an early phase of lockdown in each country, the current set of studies (N Study 1 = 1,172; N Study 2 = 451) examined positive religious coping (Study 1) and state hope (Study 2) as potential resources that may support the mental health of people living in the Global South who experienced R/S struggles during the public health crisis. Results of hierarchical regression analyses across both studies revealed that R/S struggles were positively associated with depression. In Study 1, there was a two-way interaction between R/S struggles and positive religious coping, such that the relation between R/S struggles and depression was attenuated when positive religious coping was higher for both men and women. In Study 2, a three-way interaction emerged among R/S struggles, state hope, and gender; R/S struggles were associated with higher levels of depression when state hope was low in women and when state hope was high in men. We discuss the implications of these findings for promoting psychological and spiritual well-being in low- and middle-income countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
... However, among the Puerto Rican families that participated in this study, this negative association with God was not mentioned in their experiences. Research has shown that positive association with God results in positive psychosocial outcomes and posttraumatic growth (Cook et al., 2013). It is important to note that due to the focus group nature of this study's data collection, families may have felt inclined to agree and build from other participating families' viewpoint as opposed to offering a counter perspective (i.e., being punished by God). ...
Article
Natural disasters continue to devastate families and communities across the United States. An important aspect of family resiliency within a disaster context is the role spirituality plays in how families make sense of their experience. Using an arts-based visual research approach, this study explored the role of spirituality in the psychosocial adaptation of displaced Puerto Rican families who resettled in Orlando, Florida post-Hurricane Maria. Three main themes emerged: spirituality through 1) the relinquishment of control, 2) sense of empowerment, and 3) stabilization and security. The data suggest that spirituality plays a critical role in how Puerto Rican families make sense of their displacement experience and find the strength and motivation to adapt and move forward. The findings provide important insights for community-based organizations and religious leaders regarding how Latino families spiritually cope and navigate resettlement after a natural disaster.
... Some models of virtue development, in fact, insist that virtues like patience require a transcendent narrative identity (Schnitker, King, & Houltberg, 2019), and non-Western scientific conceptualizations and operationalizations of the virtue of patience tend to include spiritual elements (Khormaei et al., 2015;Hashemi et al., 2018;Valikhani et al., 2017). Similarly, studies with people experiencing severe psychiatric distress suggest religious and spiritual struggles may exacerbate mental illness symptoms whereas religious comfort may serve as a resource for patients (e.g., Abernethy et al., 2019;Cook, Aten, Moore, Hook, & Davis, 2013;Currier et al., 2017;Currier, Holland, & Drescher, 2015;Exline, Yali, & Sanderson, 2000;Pargament, Koenig, Tarakeshwar, & Hahn, 2004). In one study, religiously integrative cognitive behavior therapy was found to be slightly more efficacious in alleviating MDD symptoms in people with chronic medical illness who were more religious (Koenig et al, 2015). ...
Article
Few studies in positive psychology have examined associations between virtues and mental health in highly distressed samples. This study demonstrates the relevance of the virtue of patience, conceptualized as the capacity to calmly face frustration and suffering, within a spiritually integrated treatment program offering inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. Previously evaluated in non-distressed samples, patience may increase during hospitalization and facilitate positive treatment outcomes. The present study found patience was inversely related to symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD) in 248 adults (M = 40.78 years; SD = 18.97) with clinical diagnoses for a range of conditions. Participants completed measures assessing patience and MDD symptoms at both intake and discharge. Latent change score results showed decreases in MDD symptoms and increases in patience for life hardships, interpersonal challenges, and daily hassles over the course of hospitalization. Changes in life hardships and interpersonal patience were inversely correlated with changes in MDD symptoms.
... COR theory was chosen as our conceptual framework for this study as it has been applied in previous research exploring health outcomes following stress (Cook et al., 2013;Hou et al., 2010;Lillis et al., 2018b;Schumm et al., 2004) and provides a theoretical bridge across the PTSD, pain, and health disparities literature to implicate (both historical and current) socioeconomic disadvantage as a potential mechanism by which AAs would be disproportionately affected by pain and pain-related risk factors. Specifically, COR theory's central tenant is that individuals are motivated to protect their resource (personal, social, material, financial, etc.) and that psychological distress arises when actual or threatened resource loss occurs. ...
Article
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Previous research has shown that African Americans (AA) report higher pain intensity and pain interference than other racial/ethnic groups as well as greater levels of other risk factors related to worse pain outcomes, including PTSD symptoms, pain catastrophizing, and sleep disturbance. Within a Conservation of Resources theory framework, we tested the hypothesis that socioeconomic status (SES) factors (i.e., income, education, employment, perception of income meeting basic needs) largely account for these racial/ethnic differences. Participants were 435 women [AA, 59.1%; Hispanic/Latina (HL), 25.3%; Non-Hispanic/White (NHW), 15.6%] who presented to an Emergency Department (ED) with an acute pain-related complaint. Data were extracted from psychosocial questionnaires completed at the participants’ baseline interview. Structural equation modeling was used to examine whether racial/ethnic differences in pain intensity and pain interference were mediated by PTSD symptoms, pain catastrophizing, sleep quality, and sleep duration, and whether these mediation pathways were, in turn, accounted for by SES factors. Results indicated that SES factors accounted for the mediation relationships linking AA race to pain intensity via PTSD symptoms and the mediation relationships linking AA race to pain interference via PTSD symptoms, pain catastrophizing, and sleep quality. Results suggested that observed racial/ethnic differences in AA women’s pain intensity, pain interference, and common risk factors for elevated pain may be largely due to racial/ethnic differences in SES. These findings highlight the role of social inequality in persistent health disparities facing inner-city, AA women.
... Buffering effects of spirituality were also found in other samples of survivors of Hurricane Katrina. One study found survivors who reported experiencing higher spiritual meaning following the disaster also reported less severe PTSD symptoms in response to resource loss, relative to survivors who reported lower spiritual meaning (Haynes et al. 2017), while another found that religious comfort and struggle were (inversely) related to positive outcomes, but religious comfort also buffered the negative effects of resource loss on emotional health (Cook et al. 2013). ...
Chapter
In this chapter, we use Park’s (Park’s (2010) meaning making model as a framework for organizing current knowledge of how people recover from disasters, highly stressful events that can severely violate people’s meaning systems. First, we review the main components of the meaning making model, then review how both global meaning (global beliefs and goals) and situational meaning (appraisals, meaning making and meanings made) are implicated in recovery following disasters. We highlight the central role that religiousness and spirituality often play in these meaning-related recovery processes. We conclude with limitations of current research and directions for future research.
... Further, researchers found that religious comfort helped to protect participants from negative emotional and physical health outcomes commonly associated with resource loss, and was also associated with posttraumatic growth. Religious strain however was linked to poorer emotional and physical health outcomes following disaster resource loss (Cook, Aten, Moore, Hook, & Davis, 2013). Likewise, Johnson, Aten, Madson, and Bennett (2006) surveyed approximately 600 residents of Mississippi who survived Hurricane Katrina. ...
... In the context of disasters, researchers have explored the relationship between PTG and factors such as gender (Cerda, 2014), race and ethnicity (Rhodes & Tran, 2013), psycho logical characteristics (e.g., optimism) (Lowe, Manove, & Rhodes, 2013), perception of governmental response to disasters (Rhodes & Tran, 2012), and resource loss (Cook, At en, Moore, Hook, & Davis, 2013), among others. The exploration of growth outcomes has expanded to include contexts of terrorism (Bayer-Topilsky, Itzhaky, Dekel, & Marmor, 2013), PTG in children (Kilmer et al., 2014), and measures of PTG at the community level (Wlodarczyk, Basabe, Páez, Villagrán, & Reyes, 2017). ...
Chapter
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Natural and man-made disasters have become much more frequent since the start of the 21st century. Disasters have numerous deleterious impacts. They disrupt individuals, families, and communities, causing displacement, food insecurity, injury, loss of livelihoods, conflict, and epidemics. The physical and mental health impact of a disaster can have extensive short- and long-term consequences. Immediately after a traumatic event, individuals may experience an array of reactions such as anxiety, depression, acute stress symptoms, shock, dissociation, allergies, injuries, or breathing problems. Given the economic and human impact of disasters, social workers are often quick to respond. Historically,the social work profession has provided services on the individual level, but initiatives have expanded to address community preparedness, response, and recovery. This article will explore the complexities of disaster response and recovery. Health and mental health impacts will be examined. Resilience and posttraumatic growth will then be discussed, exploring how individuals overcome adversity and trauma. Individual and community level preparedness mitigation, response, and recovery will explore how the field of social work has evolved as disasters have increased. Followed by an exploration of how social work has evolved to develop individual and community level preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery activities as disasters have increased. Finally, the article will examine special populations, including those with disabilities, children, indigenous people, older adults, and social service workers in all phases of disasters. As disasters grow more frequent it is vital for social work professionals to improve their efforts. We will conclude the chapter by examining the coordinated efforts the social work profession is involved in to help communities recover and even thrive after a traumatic event.
... Specifically, in COR theory, stress is defined as more concrete and being associated with an actual level as well as the loss or gain of resources. To date, research on the link between resources from Hobfoll's theory (1989) and PTG has been conducted predominantly on either terrorist attacks (e.g., Hobfoll, Tracy, & Galea, 2006;Littleton, Axsom, & Grills-Taquechel, 2009) or natural disasters (Cook, Aten, Moore, Hook, & Davis, 2013), whereas related studies on chronic illness are scarce (Sörensen et al., 2019). Additionally, incorporating COR resources in PTG research may be an adjunct to the ongoing dispute over how the PTG construct should be operationalized (see Hobfoll et al., 2006vs. ...
Article
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Background/Objective The aims of this study were to explore the heterogeneity of resources, as described by the Conservation of Resources (COR) theory, in a sample of cancer and psoriatic patients and to investigate whether heterogeneity within resources explains differences in Posttraumatic Growth (PTG) level within each of these clinical samples and in a non-clinical control group. Method The sample consisted of 925 participants, including 190 adults with a clinical diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancer, 355 adults with a medical diagnosis of psoriasis, and 380 non-clinical (without any chronic illnesses) adults, all of whom had suffered various adverse and traumatic events. The participants completed a COR evaluation questionnaire and a posttraumatic growth inventory. Results A latent profile analysis revealed four different classes of psoriatic patients and five classes of cancer patients, all with different resources levels. Clinical subsamples differed substantially with PTG levels compared to healthy controls. Conclusions Our study did not find a sole pattern of PTG that fit all the individuals, even for those who experienced the same type of traumatic event. Psychological counseling, in chronic illness particularly, should focus on the heterogenetic profiles of patients with different psychosocial characteristics.
... Thus, according to Hobfoll's Conservation of Resource theory (COR;1989), resource loss is known to increase traumatic stress. This assumption is verified by Cook, Aten, Moore, Hook, and Davis (2013)) study, showing a negative association between resource loss and health in a sample of university students soon after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast in 2005. However, Cook et al.'s results also show the presence of a positive association between resource loss and PTG. ...
Article
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People who experience major life crises often report post-traumatic stress. However, the literature suggests that traumatic experiences can also be "catalysts" for positive change (i.e., posttraumatic growth; PTG). PTG (Calhoun & Tedeschi, 2006) can include improved relationships, new possibilities for one’s life, a greater appreciation for life, a greater sense of personal strength, and spiritual development. While the general population isn’t confronted with traumatic events regularly, individuals such as firefighters, policemen, and EMTs are. But what factors foster the emergence of PTG? To answer this question, a systematic search of four major database (Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, PsycARTICLES, PsycINFO, and ScienceDirect) was conducted. Some of the factors that promoted PTG included sharing negative emotions, cognitive processing or rumination, positive coping strategies (e.g. positive reappraisal), personality traits (e.g. agreeableness), experiencing multiple sources of trauma, event centrality, resilience, and growth actions. Other factors may be mediators of PTG rather than direct influencers (e.g., seeking social support coping, social support, optimism, etc.). Finally, studies show a positive correlation between PTG and support for aggressive behavior suggesting that growth may be more nuanced than originally thought. By exploring systematically the factors that foster PTG in trauma-exposed professionals, we hope this systematic review would both provide avenues for future research and help design news methods of prevention and intervention for first responders.
... Further, researchers found that religious comfort helped to protect participants from negative emotional and physical health outcomes commonly associated with resource loss, and was also associated with posttraumatic growth. Religious strain however was linked to poorer emotional and physical health outcomes following disaster resource loss (Cook, Aten, Moore, Hook, & Davis, 2013). Likewise, Johnson, Aten, Madson, and Bennett (2006) surveyed approximately 600 residents of Mississippi who survived Hurricane Katrina. ...
Article
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According to Ronan and Johnston (2005) the number of people who will experience a disaster will double by 2050 from one billion people to two billion people. Since 1985 there has been an almost 400% increase in global natural disasters ( Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, 2007). Researchers managing the global terrorism database report a similar increase in terrorist events over the last decade, with almost 5,000 events annually. Some of the worst disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, Haiti Earthquake, Japan Tsunami, and Philippines Typhoon occurred in the past decade alone. Disasters are becoming more complex, with primary disasters (e.g., earthquake) often triggering secondary disasters (e.g., nuclear meltdown). Research shows that disasters often leave a significant psychological and spiritual “footprint” on affected communities. Thus, the purpose of this article is to introduce readers to empirical research on the psychology of religion/spirituality and disasters as well as to introduce a framework for spiritually oriented disaster psychology.
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Objective: In this article, we develop and validate a measure of spiritual fortitude (SF). SF is defined as a character trait enabling people to endure and make redemptive meaning from adversity through their sacred connections with God, others, and themselves. Method: First, we summarize its conceptual distinctions from related constructs such as grit, hardiness, and resilience. Then, in three independent studies (N = 1,104), we provide evidence for a three-factor SF Scale (SFS-9), consisting of subscales labeled Spiritual Endurance, Spiritual Enterprise, and Redemptive Purpose. Results: In Study 1 (N = 410), an exploratory factor analysis revealed three SFS-9 subscales, each of which demonstrated evidence of internal consistency. Study 2 (N = 393) confirmed this factor structure on a separate sample and provided additional evidence for internal consistency. In Study 3 (N = 301), we present evidence of its discriminant, convergent, and incremental validity. SFS-9 scores predicted variance in meaning in life, spiritual well-being, religious coping, and adversity-related anxiety, above and beyond the contribution of grit and resilience. Conclusions: Spiritual fortitude appears to be a useful construct in understanding the process of adjusting to, and thriving, in the midst of adversity, suffering, and trauma. Future hypotheses and research directions are provided to catalyze work in this new area of inquiry. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Purpose Stress has considerable impacts on human health, potentially leading to issues such as fatigue, anxiety and depression. Resource loss, a common outcome of disasters, has been found to contribute to stress among disaster survivors. Prior research focuses heavily on clinical mental health impacts of disaster experience, with less research on the effect of cumulative stress during long-term recovery. To address this gap, the purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of stressors including resource loss and debt on mental health in a sample of households in Moore, Oklahoma, impacted by a tornado in 2013. Design/methodology/approach For this pilot study, questionnaires were mailed to households residing along the track of the May 2013 tornado in Moore, OK. Descriptive statistics were calculated to report sample characteristics and disaster experience. Independent associations between disaster losses and demographic characteristics with the outcome mental health were examined with χ² and unadjusted logistic regression analysis. Adjusted logistic regression models were fit to examine resource loss and mental health. Findings Findings suggest that the tornado had considerable impacts on respondents: 56.24 percent (n=36) reported that their homes were destroyed or sustained major damage. Greater resource loss and debt were associated with mental health distress during long-term recovery from the Moore, OK, 2013 tornadoes. Research limitations/implications The association between resource loss and mental health point to a need for interventions to mitigate losses such as bolstering social support networks, incentivizing mitigation and reducing financial constraints on households post-disaster. Originality/value This study contributes to a better understanding of long-term, accumulated stress post-disaster and the impact on health to a literature heavily focused on clinical outcomes.
Article
Material security has been associated with lower religious attendance both between and within countries and has been proposed as one of the mechanisms causing long term religious decline in economically developed countries. Using a British panel study, this article examines (a) whether change to household incomes can incite individual religious change and (b) whether religion can buffer against the stress of economic loss. The main trend in Britain is that of religious stability or decline, and income change does nothing to reverse this trend. Increases in household income are associated with religious disengagement, but income reduction has no effect on religious attendance. However, religious activity may still act as a ‘buffer’ by improving and maintaining life satisfaction in the face of economic loss.
Chapter
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Conservation of resources (COR) theory offers a framework within which to understand responses to stress and suggests that stress results from circumstances involving threatened or actual loss of valued resources. Furthermore, it is the desire to defend, conserve, and acquire these valued resources which motivates human behavior in the face of stress. According to COR theory, loss is more salient than gain, and loss begets loss. The theory has received much empirical support and is particularly helpful in understanding relationships between stress and physical health. It offers fundamental insights that have guided research on coping with chronic illness, medical consequences of natural disasters, and long-term effects of occupational burnout. It has implications for disaster intervention and for improving medical care – especially for those with histories of trauma. COR theory may prove especially useful in understanding health-related resource caravan passageways – that is, mechanisms by which risk and resilience factors cluster together and impact health.
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Background: Traumatic events involve loss of resources, which has consistently been found to be associated with developing stress-related illness such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Objective: The purpose of this systematic literature review was to determine if there is evidence for the salutatory effect of resource gain on PTSD, and if there are intervention models that utilize and assess gain in PTSD. Data sources: All relevant online databases were systematically searched using key terms and a method, detailed in Figure 1. Results: Of 22 relevant articles, there were three intervention studies, one longitudinal naturalistic study, eleven non-intervention association studies focusing on PTSD, and eight non-intervention association studies not focusing on PTSD. The intervention and naturalistic studies showed a significant positive effect on PTSD by specifically targeting the gain of resources during an intervention. Other non-intervention research supports the notion that resource loss is pathogenic and resource gain is beneficial after traumatic exposure. Conclusions: Interventions that develop and assess effects of gain of various types of resources on stress-related illness should be encouraged. Interventions that already have proven efficacy for PTSD might include standardized assessment of resource loss and gain to further understand mechanisms of action.
Article
Natural disasters can lead to mental health problems, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Higher levels of loss and/or disruption and prior trauma exposure constitute risk factors for mental illness, whereas protective factors, including hope and resilience, support positive functioning. The present cross‐sectional study used structural equation modeling to examine the relative influence of resilience and hope on mental health and well‐being 1–3 months after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in August 2017, among a sample of 829 adults in the Greater Houston, Texas area. Resilience was more strongly associated with reduced PTSD symptoms, β = −.31, 95% CI [−.42, −.21], than was hope, β = −.17, 95% CI [−;.30, −.04], whereas hope was more strongly associated with components of well‐being, βs = .47–.63. Hope was positively associated with posttraumatic growth, β = .30, 95% CI [.19, .41], whereas resilience was negatively associated with posttraumatic growth, β = −.24, 95% CI [−.35, −.12]. These associations remained consistent after considering risk factors, although more variance in trauma‐related outcomes was risk factors were included in the model. The present results suggest that considering the influence of both risk and resilience factors provides an enhanced picture of postdisaster mental health.
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The present meta-analysis consolidated research examining how posttraumatic growth relates to global anxiety and depression. Articles were identified by searching PTSDpubs, PsycINFO, PubMed, and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses databases, as well as searching the reference sections of relevant review articles. Meta-analytic review of 129 included studies indicated that neither overall posttraumatic growth nor its subcomponents were meaningfully associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety when the literature was considered in aggregate, as effect sizes for these relationships were generally weak ( ≤|.10|) and/or bordered on zero. The moderator analysis indicated significant heterogeneity in effects. The pattern of results indicated that depression was more strongly associated with less posttraumatic growth in samples with cancer compared to samples without cancer, while certain facets of posttraumatic growth were related to greater anxiety in non-cancer samples, though the effect sizes for these relationships remained small. The present findings support the perspective that outcomes representing positive functioning are separable and not dependent on the absence of mental illness. Future research should identify moderators of the relationships between posttraumatic growth and symptoms of anxiety and depression.
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This study examined the coping strategies of individuals displaced after Hurricane Katrina. Following the evacuation of New Orleans, surveys were administered to those individuals displaced by Katrina and relocated to shelters or in Disaster Centers in Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Lansing, Michigan; different parts of Indiana and Kentucky; and federal aid distribution centers throughout Texas. Results indicated that talking, staying informed, and praying emerged as predictors of changes in psychological stress during relocation. Differences emerged in coping strategies based on gender, race, and income; however, age did not emerge as a factor. Recommendations are made to use these results for postcrisis response and coordination.
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This study assessed the types of social services and spiritual messages that were provided by Baton Rouge area churches following Hurricane Katrina. Church representatives (n = 157) completed a 26-item survey which consisted of open and closed ended questions. The most common resources provided by churches included food, clothing, and financial assistance. Nearly 75% of churches attempted to connect evacuees with outside state and federal resources. The greatest unmet needs reported by churches included evacuee shelter and housing, and on-site computer and internet access. Churches recommend preparedness, triage care, and leadership for other churches that find themselves the first responders following a disaster. Because of their responsiveness to the needs of communities, clergy need to be trained in disaster management. Moreover, government monies could be well-spent in supporting faith-based disaster initiatives .
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The meaning-making framework of trauma and recovery is presented. The following specific topics are discussed: (a) the meaning-making coping framework and the processes of meaning that typically occur following traumatic encounters; (b) empirical support for the meaning-making model; (c) the possibility that growth may result from this making of meaning; (d) methodologies for examining meaning making, including both quantitative and qualitative research; and (e) clinical implications of the meaning-making framework.
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This book is for mental health practitioners who want to enhance their clients' psychological well-being using therapeutic tools drawn from spiritual and religious thought. Thomas G. Plante examines the great religious and spiritual traditions and identifies several common tools that can easily be applied to psychotherapy treatment services. These include the benefits of (a) prayer; (b) meditation; (c) meaning, purpose, and calling in life; (d) bibliotherapy; (e) attending community services and rituals; (f) volunteerism and charity; (g) ethical values and behavior; (h) forgiveness, gratitude, and kindness; (i) social justice; (j) learning from spiritual models; (k) acceptance of self and others (even with faults); (l) being part of something larger than oneself; and (m) appreciating the sacredness of life. Regardless of whether mental health professionals and their clients are religious, spiritual, or identified with a faith community, these tools can be a valuable addition to the psychotherapy toolbox. Plante reviews the concepts and evidence that support spiritually integrated therapy and identifies what the great wisdom traditions can offer the psychotherapist. With a focus on the ethical issues to consider in spiritually integrated psychotherapy, he offers tools that will enhance the clinical work of both religious and nonreligious psychotherapists. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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ABSTRACT This article reports the development of the Stress-Related Growth Scale (SRGS) and its use in a study examining determinants of stress-related positive outcomes for college students. Study 1 analyses showed that the SRGS has acceptable internal and test-retest reliability and that scores are not influenced by social desirability. Study 2 analyses showed that college students' SRGS responses were significantly related to those provided by friends and relatives on their behalf. Study 3 analyses tested the determinants of stress-related growth longitudinally. Significant predictors of the SRGS were (a) intrinsic religiousness; (b) social support satisfaction; (c) stressfulness of the negative event; (d) positive reinterpretation and acceptance coping; and (e) number of recent positive life events. The SRGS was also positively related to residual change in optimism, positive affectivity, number of socially supportive others, and social support satisfaction, lending further support to the validity of this new scale. Results have implications for current theory on stress-related positive outcomes.
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[Correction Notice: An erratum for this article was reported in Vol 51(2) of Journal of Counseling Psychology (see record 2007-16897-001). On page 134, line 8, right column, under the heading Checklist for Evaluating Mediation Analyses Using Multiple Regression, the question incorrectly asks, "Was the relation between the predictor and the outcome (Path b) greater than or equal to the relation between the predictor and the mediator (Path a)?" The correct question is "Was the relation between the mediator and the outcome (Path b) greater than or equal to the relation between the predictor and the mediator (Path a)?"] The goals of this article are to (a) describe differences between moderator and mediator effects; (b) provide nontechnical descriptions of how to examine each type of effect, including study design, analysis, and interpretation of results; (c) demonstrate how to analyze each type of effect; and (d) provide suggestions for further reading. The authors focus on the use of multiple regression because it is an accessible data-analytic technique contained in major statistical packages. When appropriate, they also note limitations of using regression to detect moderator and mediator effects and describe alternative procedures, particularly structural equation modeling. Finally, to illustrate areas of confusion in counseling psychology research, they review research testing moderation and mediation that was published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology during 2001. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)
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Major perspectives concerning stress are presented with the goal of clarifying the nature of what has proved to be a heuristic but vague construct. Current conceptualizations of stress are challenged as being too phenomenological and ambiguous, and consequently, not given to direct empirical testing. Indeed, it is argued that researchers have tended to avoid the problem of defining stress, choosing to study stress without reference to a clear framework. A new stress model called the model of conservation of resources is presented as an alternative. This resource-oriented model is based on the supposition that people strive to retain, project, and build resources and that what is threatening to them is the potential or actual loss of these valued resources. Implications of the model of conservation of resources for new research directions are discussed.
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A questionnaire was mailed to all US Air Force repatriated prisoners of the Vietnam was (POWs) still on active duty, and to matched controls, in the fall of 1976. Results were analyzed to determine long-term consequences of the war imprisonment experience. We hypothesized that individuals experiencing the greatest stress and frustration might believe they gained more psychologically than those less stressed. The questionnaire results indicated a distinct subgroup of POWs for which this was particularly true, although the subjective sense of feeling somehow "benefited" by the experience was by no means universal. This study supports the hypothesis that the subjective sense of having benefited from the experience of war imprisonment is positively correlated with the harshness of the experience.
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This cross‐national study examined preparation for and psychological functioning following Hurricane Georges in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and the United States. Four to five weeks after the storm made landfall, 697 college students (222 men, 476 women) completed a questionnaire assessing demographic characteristics, preparation, social support, resource loss, and symptoms associated with acute stress disorder. Location, resource loss (especially personal characteristic resources) and social support accounted for a significant portion of psychological distress variance. The findings support the conservation of resources stress theory (Hobfoll. 1989. 1998). Implications of the findings and future research directions are discussed.
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The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
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This book, the first of its kind, reviews and discusses the full range of research on religion and a variety of mental and physical health outcomes. Based on this research, the authors build theoretical models illustrating the various behavioural, psychological, and physiological pathways by which religion might affect health. They also review research that has explored the impact of religious affiliation, belief, and practice one use of health services and compliance with medical treatment. Finally, they discuss the implications of these findings, examine a number of possible clinical applications, and make recommendations for future research in this area
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Part I: Understanding the Impact of Trauma on Families. The Family as a Living System. Individual Responses to Trauma. Spreading Beyond the Individual: Family Adaption to Stress and Trauma. Part II: Empowering Families. Foundations of the Empowerment Treatment Approach. Phase I: Joining the Family. Phase II: Understanding and Framing the Family's Trauma Response. Phase III: Building Healing Skills. Phase IV: Sharing and Healing. Phase V: Moving Forward. Part III: Empowering Family Trauma Therapists. The Family Trauma Therapist. Epilogue: Looking Back and Looking Forward. References.
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• A questionnaire was mailed to all US Air Force repatriated prisoners of the Vietnam war (POWs) still on active duty, and to matched controls, in the fall of 1976. Results were analyzed to determine long-term consequences of the war imprisonment experience. We hypothesized that individuals experiencing the greatest stress and frustration might believe they gained more psychologically than those less stressed. The questionnaire results indicated a distinct subgroup of POWs for which this was particularly true, although the subjective sense of feeling somehow "benefited" by the experience was by no means universal. This study supports the hypothesis that the subjective sense of having benefited from the experience of war imprisonment is positively correlated with the harshness of the experience.
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A search of the published literature identified 11 empirical studies that reported links between religion, spirituality, and posttraumatic growth. A review of these 11 studies produced three main findings. First, these studies show that religion and spirituality are usually, although not always, beneficial to people in dealing with the aftermath of trauma. Second, that traumatic experiences can lead to a deepening of religion or spirituality. Third, that positive religious coping, religious openness, readiness to face existential questions, religious participation, and intrinsic religiousness are typically associated with posttraumatic growth. Important directions for future research are suggested that centre on the need for more fine-grained analysis of religion and spirituality variables, together with longitudinal research designs, that allow more detailed exploration of the links between religion, spirituality, and posttraumatic growth.
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Applied Hobfoll's (1988; 1989) Conservation of Resources (COR) stress theory to the instance of traumatic stress. COR theory posits that stress occurs when resources are threatened, when resources are lost, or when individuals invest resources without gaining adequate resources in return. Traumatic stress is seen as particularly threatening to resources and results in rapid resource depletion when it occurs. The rapidness of resource loss is related to the fact that traumatic stressors (1) often attack people's basic values, (2) often occur unexpectedly, (3) make excessive demands, (4) are outside of the realm for which resource utilization strategies have been developed, and (5) leave a powerful mental image that is easily evoked by cues associated with the event. Results from research on traumatic stress are used to illustrate these points and implications for treatment are discussed.
Book
An Introduction to the Psychology of Religion and Coping. Part I: A Perspective on Religion. The Sacred and the Search for Significance. Religious Pathways and Religious Destinations. Part II: A Perspective on Coping. An Introduction to the Concept of Coping. The Flow of Coping. Part III: The Religion and Coping Connection. When People Turn to Religion. When They Turn Away. The Many Faces of Religion in Coping. Religion and the Mechanisms of Coping - The Transformation of Significance. Part IV: Evaluative and Practical Implications. Does it Work? Religion and the Outcomes of Coping. When Religion Fails - Problems of Integration in the Process of Coping. Putting Religion into Practice.
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Surveys reveal that religion and spirituality are highly valuable to many people in times of crisis, trauma, and grief. The relationship between coping with trauma and the use of various spiritual beliefs is well established. The importance of clergy in trauma recovery is also well documented. A review of the 469 research and non-research articles published between 1990 and 1999 in the Journal of Traumatic Stress revealed that 8.7% (6/69) of non-research articles, 4.1% (15/366) of quantitative research articles and 2.9% (1/34) of qualitative research articles considered religion or spirituality in their work. Analysis of variance found a significant overall increase in the percentage of articles that mentioned religion/spirituality between the first half (1990–1994) and the second half (1995–1999) of the study period. The results are discussed in the context of the trauma research and in comparison to related disciplines. Recommendations for future research and clinical application are suggested for both traumatologists and religious scholars.
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This qualitative study is based on a small group of clergy in the UK. The study explored the clergy’s views and perceptions on the relationship between spiritual experience and mental distress. Six clergy were interviewed using a semi-structured technique, and the interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analysed thematically. The findings explore the nature of spirituality in relation to mental distress highlighting a relationship between mental distress and spiritual experience and add to the debate surrounding these concepts. Implications and recommendations for future research are discussed.
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examine how the resources that underlie coping are both influenced by extreme stress and how resources set the course for people's reactions to extreme stress / apply COR [Conservation of Resources] theory to the process of coping with extreme stress and rely on this general explanatory framework for helping to understand and predict when extreme stressors will take their worst toll and how and when people will best withstand the deleterious effects of extreme stressors / present the basic parameters of COR theory / examine how COR theory can be applied to short-term responding to extreme stress / explore the implications of a resource perspective on long-term responding to extreme stress / look at personal, social, and community resources that are particularly important in the face of such circumstances as disasters and war / concentrate on community stress events that influence a large segment of a community or an entire community and on how such events influence resources (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how mental health professionals and African American pastors and their churches could collaborate to overcome minority disaster mental health disparities. Forty-one African American pastors of churches located in south Mississippi, in counties directly affected by Hurricane Katrina, participated in semi-structured interviews approximately 1 year after the storm. The majority of participants reported being interested in collaborating with mental health professionals to: (a) develop educational and outreach opportunities, (b) lead assessment procedures, (c) offer consultation activities, (d) provide clinically focused services, and (e) utilize spiritual resources and support. Participants provided further insight into how these collaborative activities could be modified to meet post-disaster needs and offered novel applications. Following from these discussions, the article provides a number of recommendations that can be used to aid in the development of disaster collaborative activities between African American pastors and churches and mental health professionals to serve minority communities while also decreasing disparities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
There has been significant progress in developing or adapting measures of religiousness for use in health settings. Except for the spiritual well-being scales, most measures focus on religiousness rather than spirituality. Very few sound measures of spirituality or illness-specific spiritual coping have been developed. Other shortcomings for some instruments include limited information about temporal stability and convergent validity, potential ceiling effects, and lack of data about social desirability bias. In addition, most items on these questionnaires are framed in monotheistic language, so it is unclear how well they would be received by nontheistic respondents. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The current study employed the Conservation of Resources (COR) stress model as a template for understanding short-term adjustment following a natural disaster (Hobfoll, 1989). The following three hypotheses were supported: resource loss was positively related to psychological distress; resource loss was relatively more important in predicting psychological distress than personal characteristics and coping behavior; and, resource loss constitutes a risk factor for the development of clinically significant psychological distress. The theoretical importance of the current findings is discussed, particularly the tendency within disaster literature to confound crisis experiences (e.g., terror) with resource loss experiences (e.g., loss of possessions, loss of social support) when defining degree of disaster exposure. Also, the practical importance of considering resource loss in planning intervention services is highlighted.
Article
To better understand the stress and quality of life of clergy and clergy spouses, a survey research design was utilized involving a random sample of clergy. Of the 436 respondents involved in this study there were 259 clergy who were employed full-time and 177 clergy spouses. Various scales related to Family Stress Theory and the ABC-X model were used in this investigation. Whereas clergy spouses had greater psychological and physiological stress than clergy, clergy had a greater sense of coherence and spiritual resources. Clergy spouses, however had a greater level of coping. Findings indicated that for both clergy and clergy spouses spiritual resources had the greatest total effect on their quality of life. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
Conservation of Resources (COR) theory predicts that resource loss is the principal ingredient in the stress process. Resource gain, in turn, is depicted as of increasing importance in the context of loss. Because resources are also used to prevent resource loss, at each stage of the stress process people are increasingly vulnerable to negative stress sequelae, that if ongoing result in rapid and impactful loss spirals. COR theory is seen as an alternative to appraisal-based stress theories because it relies more centrally on the objective and culturally construed nature of the environment in determining the stress process, rather than the individual’s personal construel. COR theory has been successfully employed in predicting a range of stress outcomes in organisational settings, health contexts, following traumatic stress, and in the face of everyday stressors. Recent advances in understanding the biological, cognitive, and social bases of stress responding are seen as consistent with the original formulation of COR theory, but call for envisioning of COR theory and the stress process within a more collectivist backdrop than was first posited. The role of both resource losses and gains in predicting positive stress outcomes is also considered. Finally, the limitations and applications of COR theory are discussed.
Article
Many people see themselves as being in a relationship with God and see this bond as comforting. Yet, perceived relationships with God also carry the potential for experiencing anger toward God, as shown here in studies with the U.S. population (Study 1), undergraduates (Studies 2 and 3), bereaved individuals (Study 4), and cancer survivors (Study 5). These studies addressed 3 fundamental issues regarding anger toward God: perceptions and attributions that predict anger toward God, its prevalence, and its associations with adjustment. Social-cognitive predictors of anger toward God paralleled predictors of interpersonal anger and included holding God responsible for severe harm, attributions of cruelty, difficulty finding meaning, and seeing oneself as a victim. Anger toward God was frequently reported in response to negative events, although positive feelings predominated. Anger and positive feelings toward God showed moderate negative associations. Religiosity and age correlated negatively with anger toward God. Reports of anger toward God were slightly lower among Protestants and African Americans in comparison with other groups (Study 1). Some atheists and agnostics reported anger involving God, particularly on measures emphasizing past experiences (Study 2) and images of a hypothetical God (Study 3). Anger toward God was associated with poorer adjustment to bereavement (Study 4) and cancer (Study 5), particularly when anger remained unresolved over a 1-year period (Study 5). Taken together, these studies suggest that anger toward God is an important dimension of religious and spiritual experience, one that is measurable, widespread, and related to adjustment across various contexts and populations.
Article
Cross-sectional data from the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) were analyzed to test the validity of the MOS 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) scales as measures of physical and mental health constructs. Results from traditional psychometric and clinical tests of validity were compared. Principal components analysis was used to test for hypothesized physical and mental health dimensions. For purposes of clinical tests of validity, clinical criteria defined mutually exclusive adult patient groups differing in severity of medical and psychiatric conditions. Scales shown in the components analysis to primarily measure physical health (physical functioning and role limitations-physical) best distinguished groups differing in severity of chronic medical condition and had the most pure physical health interpretation. Scales shown to primarily measure mental health (mental health and role limitations-emotional) best distinguished groups differing in the presence and severity of psychiatric disorders and had the most pure mental health interpretation. The social functioning, vitality, and general health perceptions scales measured both physical and mental health components and, thus, had the most complex interpretation. These results are useful in establishing guidelines for the interpretation of each scale and in documenting the size of differences between clinical groups that should be considered very large.
Article
This study examines perceptions of illness-related positive of change or stress-related growth among a sample of African American, Puerto Rican, and non-Hispanic White women (n = 54) living with HIV/AIDS in New York City, USA. While these women acknowledged the negative stresses of living with HIV/AIDS, 83% reported at least one positive change in their lives that they attributed to their illness experience. A number of different domains of potential growth were identified including: health behaviors, spirituality, interpersonal relationships, view of the self, value of life, and career goals. While growth was reported by nearly all the women, some variation was found in the forms of growth reported in relation to the women's ethnic/racial background, class, and IV drug use history. These data suggest an expanded conceptualization of stress-related growth that includes behavioral aspects of growth in response to stress and illness, and which takes into account the diverse ways in which growth may be experienced.
Article
The current study focused on a sample of adults (N = 67) experiencing bereavement following the loss of a child. The Post Traumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI) was used to assess whether bereaved parents were able to perceive benefit from their trauma, and whether there were gender differences in perception of benefit. The impact of the following variables on the PTGI was also assessed: the nature and length of time since the loss, and the age and marital status of the bereaved. The results indicated that bereaved parents do perceive benefit from their loss. However, there was poor evidence to suggest perception of benefit along gender lines. Results also indicated a potential relation between greater perception of benefit and those bereaved through illness, and more perception of benefit for the longer the time elapsed since the bereavement. Lastly, there was a tendency for younger individuals and married respondents to obtain higher scores on the PTGI.
Article
Although religion is usually portrayed as a source of comfort, individuals may also experience strain in their religious lives. Associations between religious variables and psychological distress were examined within two groups: a nonclinical sample of 200 college students and a clinical sample of 54 persons seeking outpatient psychotherapy. Participants reported more comfort than strain associated with religion. Religious strain was associated with greater depression and suicidality, regardless of religiosity levels or the degree of comfort found in religion. Depression was associated with feelings of alienation from God and, among students, with interpersonal conflicts on religious domains. Suicidality was associated with religious fear and guilt, particularly with belief in having committed an unforgivable sin. Religious strain, along with religiosity, was associated with greater interest in addressing religious issues in psychotherapy. These results highlight the role of religious strain as a potentially important indicator of psychological distress.
Article
Data on symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were collected 6 months after Hurricanes Paulina (N = 200; Mexico) and Andrew (non-Hispanic n = 270; United States) using the Revised Civilian Mississippi Scale. A 4-factor measurement model that represented the accepted multicriterion conceptualization of PTSD fit the data of the U.S. and Mexican samples equally well. The 4 factors of Intrusion, Avoidance, Numbing, and Arousal correlated significantly and equivalently with severity of trauma in each sample. A single construct explained much of the covariance of the symptom factors in each sample. However, modeling PTSD as a unidimensional construct masked differences between samples in symptom severity. With severity of trauma controlled, the Mexican sample was higher in Intrusion and Avoidance, whereas the U.S. sample was higher in Arousal. The results suggest that PTSD is a meaningful construct to study in Latin American societies.
Article
This cross-national study examined preparation for and psychological functioning following Hurricane Georges in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and the United States. Four to five weeks after the storm made landfall, 697 college students (222 men, 476 women) completed a questionnaire assessing demographic characteristics, preparation, social support, resource loss, and symptoms associated with acute stress disorder. Location, resource loss (especially personal characteristic resources) and social support accounted for a significant portion of psychological distress variance. The findings support the conservation of resources stress theory (Hobfoll, 1989, 1998). Implications of the findings and future research directions are discussed.
Article
A growing body of literature suggests that people often turn to religion when coping with stressful events. However, studies on the efficacy of religious coping for people dealing with stressful situations have yielded mixed results. No published studies to date have attempted to quantitatively synthesize the research on religious coping and psychological adjustment to stress. The purpose of the current study was to synthesize the research on situation-specific religious coping methods and quantitatively determine their efficacy for people dealing with stressful situations. A meta-analysis of 49 relevant studies with a total of 105 effect sizes was conducted in order to quantitatively examine the relationship between religious coping and psychological adjustment to stress. Four types of relationships were investigated: positive religious coping with positive psychological adjustment, positive religious coping with negative psychological adjustment, negative religious coping with positive psychological adjustment, and negative religious coping with negative psychological adjustment. The results of the study generally supported the hypotheses that positive and negative forms of religious coping are related to positive and negative psychological adjustment to stress, respectively. Implications of the findings and their limitations are discussed.
Article
It was hypothesized that intrinsic religiousness helps to cope with increased salience of terrorism. Intrinsically religious and non-religious participants were told that it is highly probable or highly improbable, respectively, that terrorist attacks will occur in Germany. High probability of terrorism only negatively affected the mood of non-religious participants but not of intrinsically religious participants (Study 1). Using as a realistic context of investigation the terrorist suicide bombings in Istanbul, the authors replicated this finding and shed some light on the underlying psychological processes (Study 2): On the day of the terrorist attacks (high salience of terrorism), non-religious participants experienced less positive emotions and less self-efficacy than did intrinsically religious participants. Two months later (low salience of terrorism), no differences were found between non-religious and intrinsically religious participants with regard to mood and self-efficacy. Mediational analyses suggested that the mood effects were associated with differences in the reported sense of self-efficacy.
Article
Many patients treated with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) experience clinically significant depression and anxiety after ICD implantation. As ICD use continues to evolve, it is important to understand the correlates of depression and anxiety to identify patients at greatest risk of poor psychological functioning. Conservation of resources theory, a general theory of stress, states that people experience greater stress if they perceive that they are losing personal, social, and material resources. We hypothesized that perceptions of resource loss would be related to symptoms of depression and anxiety after controlling for other known predictors. One hundred patients treated with an ICD completed standardized depression and anxiety questionnaires along with questionnaires assessing social support, physical functioning, and resource loss. Clinical variables for patients were obtained from prospectively obtained medical records. Over 20% of the sample exhibited elevated symptoms of depression and anxiety. Patients' depression levels were associated with poor social support, poor physical functioning, a history of depression, and a greater length of time since ICD implantation. Having experienced one or more clinical ICD shocks was related to depression but not anxiety. Higher levels of perceived resource loss were associated with higher levels of both depression and anxiety after controlling for all other predictors. Resource loss may help to determine psychological distress after ICD implantation. Understanding how resource loss contributes to depression and anxiety may help to identify patients at greatest risk of poor psychological functioning and may suggest treatment strategies.