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Hope and Well-being in Vulnerable Contexts During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Does Religious Coping Matter?

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To identify potential protective mechanisms that might buffer the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on well-being, the current set of studies (NStudy 1 = 1172, NStudy 2 = 451) examined the roles of hope and religious coping (positive and negative) in promoting well-being during stay-at-home orders that were implemented in Colombia and South Africa. After controlling for relevant sociodemographic characteristics (Study 1), subjective health complaints, and sleep quality (Study 2), hope was positively associated with well-being and the relation between hope and well-being was moderated by religious coping. Whilst well-being was highest when levels of hope were high (irrespective of positive or negative religious coping levels), when reported hope was low, well-being tended to be higher when positive religious coping was high (Study 1) and negative religious coping was low (Study 2). Implications of the findings for maintaining well-being during a public health crisis are discussed.
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Running head: HOPE DURING A HEALTH PANDEMIC
1
Hope and well-being in vulnerable contexts during the COVID-19 pandemic: Does religious
coping matter?
Victor Counted, Ph.D.
School of Psychology
Western Sydney University, Australia
Kenneth I. Pargament, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Bowling Green State University, USA
Andrea Ortega Bechara, M.Sc.
Department of Psychology
Universidad del Sinú, Columbia
Shaun Joynt, Ph.D.
Faculty of Theology and Religion
University of the Free State, South Africa
Richard G. Cowden, Ph.D.
Human Flourishing Program
Institute for Quantitative Social Science
Harvard University, USA
Address correspondence to Dr Victor Counted, School of Psychology, Western Sydney
University, Locked Bag 1797 Penrith NSW 2751 or by email: connect@victorcounted.org
This paper is not the version of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative
document published.
Citation: Counted, V., Pargament, K. I., Bechara, A. O., Joynt, S., & Cowden, R. G.
(in press). Hope and well-being in vulnerable contexts during the COVID-19
pandemic: Does religious coping matter? The Journal of Positive Psychology.
HOPE DURING A HEALTH PANDEMIC
2
Abstract
To identify potential protective mechanisms that might buffer the effects of the COVID-19
pandemic on well-being, the current set of studies (NStudy 1 = 1172, NStudy 2 = 451) examined
the roles of hope and religious coping (positive and negative) in promoting well-being during
stay-at-home orders that were implemented in Colombia and South Africa. After controlling
for relevant sociodemographic characteristics (Study 1), subjective health complaints, and
sleep quality (Study 2), hope was positively associated with well-being and the relation
between hope and well-being was moderated by religious coping. Whilst well-being was
highest when levels of hope were high (irrespective of positive or negative religious coping
levels), when reported hope was low, well-being tended to be higher when positive religious
coping was high (Study 1) and negative religious coping was low (Study 2). Implications of
the findings for maintaining well-being during a public health crisis are discussed.
Word count: 146
Keywords: COVID-19, hope, well-being, religious coping, vulnerable health contexts
HOPE DURING A HEALTH PANDEMIC
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Hope and well-being in vulnerable contexts during the COVID-19 pandemic: Does religious
coping matter?
The outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)
originated from China in late 2019. On March 11th, 2020, the World Health Organization
announced coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a global health pandemic. By the end of
March 2020, people in almost every part of the world had been affected by the various public
health control measures that were implemented to limit transmission of the virus (Fore,
2020). Epidemiological forecasting of infection and mortality rates for the first wave of
SARS-CoV-2 triggered a large-scale stay-at-home orders in many countries and states,
particularly in low- and middle-income countries where there were concerns about the
preparedness and capacity of healthcare systems to successfully meet the projected health
needs of local populations during the public health crisis. South Africa and Colombia
implemented some of the strictest stay-at-home regulations in the world, which banned social
gatherings and heavily restricted non-essential travel and activities (Trenchard, 2020). The
Colombian government imposed one of the longest lockdowns of any nation during the
COVID-19 pandemic (Emblin, 2020).
Although the threat that SARS-CoV-2 poses to physical health is central to the public
health control measures that have been implemented around the world, the implications that
strict lockdown regulations have had on psychological well-being are far broader. During the
most stringent stay-at-home order periods introduced in Colombia and South Africa, public
and private institutions were forced to shift their operations or close entirely. Unemployment
rates increased drastically, and the economies of each country came to a grim halt.
Alongside concerns about financial security, people had their daily routines disrupted
indefinitely and were abruptly isolated from the people and places that were part of their
daily lives when stay-at-home orders required citizens to emplace themselves at home.
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Beyond the economic and healthcare strains of the pandemic, COVID-19 poses a profound
threat to human connection (Hagerty & Williams, 2020). The causes of psychological distress
associated with COVID-19 are multifactorial and are likely to vary across individuals.
Findings of recent studies (e.g., Hagerty & Williams, 2020; Hamouche, 2020) suggest that
COVID-19-related psychological distress may be triggered by a combination of factors at
environmental (e.g., social disconnectedness, confinement), organizational (e.g., job
insecurity, infobesity versus the unknown), and individual levels (e.g., the threat of contagion
and potential death, perception of safety, financial loss). The specific pathways by which
COVID-19 impacts psychological well-being might be particularly devastating for those with
pre-existing mental health issues.
COVID-19 and related public health control measures that have been implemented
have implications for multiple domains of well-being (e.g., psychological, social). In
vulnerable contexts where an assortment of pre-existing social-structural disadvantages are
prevalent, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on well-being is likely to be magnified
(Hagerty & Williams, 2020). To better understand psychological processes that may be
involved in sustaining well-being among people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the
present set of studies examine hope and religious coping as resources that may support the
well-being of people living under lockdown conditions within contexts of social-structural
vulnerability.
Hope and well-being in a health pandemic
As a cognitive-motivational concept, hope refers to the capacity of a person to
identify pathways to goals and harness agency to achieve desired outcomes of goal-oriented
pursuits (Snyder, 2000, 2002). The pathway dimension of involves the perceived capacity to
generate effective and useful ways of accomplishing desired goals, whereas the agency
dimension represents an individual’s self-efficacy in executing desired goals that support
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well-being (Snyder, 2000). The agency and pathways dimensions of hopeful thinking are the
experience of (both trait and state) hope itself (Chang, Kahle, Yu, et al., 2013). Trait hope,
which is one’s dispositional tendency to experience hope, can be built alongside state hope,
which is one’s current state of hopefulness (Snyder, 2000). Research indicates that both trait
and state hope have a positive effect on well-being (Ciarrochi, Parker, Kashdan, Heaven, &
Barkus, 2015;Madan & Pakenham, 2014). Considering the psychological costs of COVID-19
related stressors (Hamouche, 2020), hopeful thinking might be a valuable resource that
enables people to sustain or recover well-being.
In the midst of the obstacles created by COVID-19 and related homebound
restrictions, hope is likely to motivate people to identify effective ways of achieving desired
goals that contribute to well-being. Hope is related to better psychological adjustment in
response to a health crisis (Madan & Pakenham, 2014) and lower levels of psychological
distress (Kenney, Lude, Elfstrom, & Smithson, 2012). Previous research suggests that people
with higher levels of hope tend to be more accepting of a health crisis (Miller-Smedema,
Catalano, & Ebener, 2010) and may have lower threat perceptions than those with low levels
of hope (Kennedy, Evans, & Sandhu, 2009). Amid the unpredictable reach of the COVID-19
pandemic, hope represents a psychological resource that could enable people to overcome
setbacks or maintain progress towards goal attainment while under stay-at-home orders
(Schwarzer & Luszczynska, 2008).
Hope, religious coping, and well-being
Religious resources have been found to facilitate the coping responses of religious
individuals (Aten, Smith, Davis, et al., 2019). The way people respond to stressors by
drawing from religion or their relation to the sacred has been conceptualised as religious
coping (Pargament, 2001). Positive religious coping rests on a secure relationship with the
sacred, a benevolent view of the universe, and a sense of spiritual connectedness with others.
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Positive religious coping methods have generally been associated with improved well-being
and individual growth amid life stressors (Chen et al., 2019; Prati & Pietrantoni, 2009).
However, not all forms of religious coping are necessarily positive. Negative religious coping
(also referred to as religious/spiritual struggles) reflects a tenuous relation to the sacred, an
ominous view of the world, and religious/spiritual struggles with others. In contrast to
positive religious coping, negative religious coping is associated with poorer mental health
and well-being among people facing stressful situations (Pargament, 2001).
Although hope may be helpful for sustaining well-being during the COVID-19
pandemic, research has found that the protective role of hope in supporting well-being may
be suppressed by the negative effects of disaster-related stress (Chen et al., 2019). Therefore,
hope may not be sufficient on its own for dealing with stressors experienced during the health
pandemic (Hamouche, 2020). One alternative resource that has been found to support well-
being in the midst of stressful life events is religious coping (Aten et al. 2019; Chen et al.,
2019). Use of positive religious coping strategies may enable people to relinquish their
circumstances to the divine in a way that sustains their capacity to imagine the possibilities of
overcoming the challenges of the COVID-19 health crisis (Sandage & Morgan, 2014). On the
other hand, negative religious coping may evoke further distress by triggering spiritual
tensions that disrupt a person’s sense of security with God or the sacred (Pargament & Ano,
2006). When hope is felt to be in short supply, use of negative religious coping strategies
might contribute further to the burden of successfully overcoming stressors experienced
during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The present study
Hopeful thinking may be a valuable resource for promoting well-being amid the
complications of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in under-resourced contexts where
the implications of a public health crisis and lockdowns are likely to be exacerbated
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(Govender, Cowden, Nyamaruze, Armstrong, & Hatane, 2020). To shed light on the
dialectical nature of hopeful thinking in vulnerable contexts that may be disproportionately
affected by the consequences of the public health crisis, one purpose of the current set of
studies was to examine the relation between (trait and state) hope and well-being during
homebound restrictions tied to the COVID-19 pandemic in Colombia and South Africa.
Given the pervasive social-structural disadvantages that exist in many developing countries
(e.g., fragile health systems, economic inequality), religious coping may be an alternative
resource that supports well-being during a time when people are faced with uncertainty about
the attainability of their goals or a hopeful perspective about goal-oriented pursuits that are
difficult to revive. Thus, a second purpose of the current studies was to examine the role of
religious coping in supporting well-being, particularly when hope may not represent a
reasonable resource for people who are constrained by the challenges of the COVID-19
pandemic.
Study 1
In Study 1, we examined the relation between trait hope, religious coping, and well-
being in a sample of Colombians who were subjected to stay-at-home orders during the
COVID-19 pandemic. We hypothesized that trait hope would associate positively with well-
being. We expected religious coping to be associated with well-being, such that positive
religious coping would be related to higher levels of well-being and negative religious coping
would be related to lower levels of well-being. We also anticipated that the relation between
hope and well-being would be moderated by religious coping. Specifically, it was
hypothesized that well-being would be highest when trait hope levels were high (regardless
of positive or negative religious coping levels). At low levels of hope, greater well-being was
expected at higher levels of positive religious coping and lower levels of negative religious
coping.
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Method
Participants
Data collection for this study occurred from May 12th to 25th, 2020. This period
overlapped with the country-wide stay-at-home order that had been instituted by the
Colombian government in response to the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. Sample characteristics (N
= 1172) are reported in Table 1. Participants were between 18 and 61 years of age (Mage =
21.70, SD = 3.96). A majority of the sample was female (62.12%) and reported high school
equivalency as their highest level of education (64.59%). Most participants self-identified as
Christian (77.82%) and were not currently in a romantic relationship (84.47%).
Measures
Participants responded to the following set of self-report measures. Internal
consistency reliability estimates for all measures are reported in Table 2.
Well-being. Participants completed the Flourish Index (FI; VanderWeele, 2017). The
FI consists of 10 questions/statements that are evenly distributed across five domains of well-
being (i.e., happiness and life satisfaction, mental and physical health, meaning and purpose,
character and virtue, and close social relationships). An 11-point response format (from 0 to
10) is used to rate each item (e.g., “Overall, how satisfied are you with life as a whole these
days?”), with orienting labels presented alongside extreme categories.
Trait hope. The 12-item Adult Dispositional Hope Scale (ADHS; Snyder et al., 1991)
was administered to assess trait hope. Eight of the items (e.g., “I can think of many ways to
get out of a jam”) are included on the agency and pathways subscales (7 items each), which
are combined for a total hope score. The remaining four items serve as distractor items. In
this study, participants used a four-point response format to rate each of the items (1 =
Definitely false; 4 = Definitely true).
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Religious coping. Participants completed the Brief RCOPE (Pargament, Smith,
Koenig, & Perez, 1998), a 14-item measure that captures positive and negative religious
coping strategies (7 items each) in response to a negative event. A four-point response format
(1 = Not at all; 4 = A great deal) is used to rate each item (e.g., “Looked for a stronger
connection with God”).
Procedure
Institutional approval to conduct this study was provided by the ethical review board
at Universidad del Sinú. Undergraduate and graduate students of the Universidad del Sinú
were recruited electronically using a variety of targeted methods (e.g., email, social media
advertisements, instant messaging). Interested individuals were invited to access the survey
via a secure weblink. Participants provided electronic informed consent prior to completing
the survey in Spanish. Two certified translators applied translation and back translation
techniques to modify the survey items from English to Spanish. The initial translation was
performed by one of the translators, whereas the second translator completed back
translation. The translation process was reviewed by AOB, who also assisted with resolving
any concerns raised by the translators.
Results
Statistical processing was performed in R (R Core Team, 2018). Item-level data were
screened for missing values, none of which were found. The userfriendlyscience package was
used to calculate omega total estimates of internal consistency reliability. Ordinal omega total
values were computed for measures with ordinal response formats consisting of few response
categories. Bivariate associations among the measures were estimated using Pearson
correlations produced via the apaTables package. Descriptive statistics, estimated reliability,
and zero-order correlations among the measures are reported in Table 2. Internal consistency
reliability values for all measures were ≥ .89. Using Cohen’s (1992) guidelines of small (.10),
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medium (.30), and large (.50) to interpret the strength of zero-order correlations, bivariate
associations varied from negligible to large (r = |.08 to .67|) in effect size. Well-being
evidenced moderate to large positive associations (r = .34 to .67) with trait hope and positive
religious coping respectively; it yielded a moderate negative association (r = -.32) with
negative religious coping.
A three-step hierarchical regression model was used to test for the two-way
interactions of trait hope × positive religious coping and trait hope × negative religious
coping on well-being. Variables were entered into the model as follows: the five control
sociodemographic variables (Step one, the base model), trait hope, positive religious coping,
and negative religious coping (Step two, main effects model), and the interactions of trait
hope × positive religious coping and trait hope × negative religious coping (Step three, two-
way interaction model). Trait hope and each of the religious coping variables were mean
centered prior to model estimation.
Modeling procedures and summary statistics were computed with the stats and
apaTables packages. Cohen’s f2 was calculated to assist with evaluating the strength of global
and local effects (Selya, Rose, Dierker, Hedeker, & Mermelstein, 2012). Cohen’s (1992)
guidelines of small (.02), medium (.15), and large (.35) were used to classify the strength of f2
values. Squared semi-partial correlations (sr2) were calculated to determine the amount of
unique variance in the criterion variable attributable to each independent variable. Prior to
interpretation of model fit, assumptions of normality and homoscedasticity of residuals for
the full model were visually assessed via a Wallyplot technique with the MESS package (see
Ekstrøm, 2014). The sets of QQ plots and residual scatterplots suggested that assumptions of
normality and homoscedasticity were upheld. Variation inflation factor (VIF) values
computed with the car package did not reveal any multicollinearity concerns (all VIF values
≤ 1.52).
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Results of the multiple regression analysis are reported in Table 3. The control
variables that were included in Step one evidenced a small effect (f2 = .03). When trait hope,
positive religious coping, and negative religious coping were added to the model in Step two,
there was a large improvement in model fit (f2 = .98). Inclusion of the two-way interactions of
trait hope × positive religious coping and trait hope × negative religious coping in Step three
yielded a small improvement in model fit (f2 = .02). In the final model, trait hope (sr2 = .21)
and positive religious coping (sr2 = .02) were each positively associated with well-being,
whereas negative religious coping was associated negatively with well-being (sr2 = .03). The
trait hope × positive religious coping interaction reached statistical significance (sr2 = .01).
{TABLE 3 ABOUT HERE}
The two-way interaction between trait hope and positive religious coping on well-
being is displayed in Figure 1. A simple slopes analysis was performed by specifying low
(one standard deviation below the mean) and high (one standard deviation above the mean)
values for the moderator variable (i.e., positive religious coping). The results indicated that
trait hope yielded a stronger positive association with well-being when positive religious
coping was low (b = 2.72, 95% CI [2.48, 2.96], p < .001) compared to when it was high (b =
2.04, 95% CI [1.76, 2.33], p < .001).
The findings of this study supported the hypothesis that trait hope would associate
positively with well-being. The hypothesis that religious coping would be associated with
well-being was also supported, with higher levels of positive religious coping (and lower
levels of negative religious coping) associated with higher levels of well-being. The
hypothesis that the relation between trait hope and well-being would be moderated by
religious coping was partially supported, with an interaction emerging between trait hope and
positive religious coping on well-being. Whereas well-being was highest when trait hope
levels were high (regardless of positive religious coping levels), when reported hope was low,
18
well-being tended to be higher when participants engaged in more adaptive religious coping
responses (e.g., seeking connection with God). Negative religious coping did not moderate
the association between hope and well-being.
{FIGURE 1 ABOUT HERE}
Study 2
In Study 2, we sought to extend the findings of Study 1 in a sample of South Africans
who were experiencing homebound restrictions that were implemented in response to
COVID-19. Second, we replaced the trait hope measure used in Study 1 with a measure of
state hope in order to measure hope in a way that might be more sensitive to specific the
challenges raised by COVID-19. Similar to Study 1, we hypothesized that state hope would
be positively associated with well-being. We also expected that positive religious coping
would be positively associated with well-being, whereas negative religious coping was
expected to associate negatively with well-being. We also hypothesized that religious coping
would moderate the relationship between state hope and well-being. We theorized that well-
being would be highest when state hope levels were high (regardless of positive or negative
religious coping levels). When self-reported hope was low, we expected that well-being
would be higher when positive religious coping was high and negative religious coping was
low.
Method
Participants
Recruitment of participants took place from April 3rd to 30th, 2020, which
overlapped with a nationwide stay-at-home order that was instituted by the South African
government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sample characteristics (N = 451) are
reported in Table 1. Participants ranged from 18 and 74 years of age (Mage = 33.54, SD =
11.93). Most of the sample was female (65.85%), identified racially as black African
18
(74.06%), and had fulfilled high school equivalency requirements (80.04%). A majority of
the participants were not currently in an ongoing romantic relationship (54.32%) and
affiliated religiously with Christianity (82.93%).
Measures
The following set of self-report measures were administered to participants. Estimates
of internal consistency for all multi-item measures are reported in Table 2.
Well-being and religious coping. Participants completed the FI (VanderWeele, 2017)
and the Brief RCOPE (Pargament et al., 1998) measures that were used in Study 1.
State hope. The Adult State Hope Scale (ASHS; Snyder et al., 1996) was used to
measure state hope. The instrument contains six items (e.g., “If I should find myself in a jam,
I could think of many ways to get out of it”) that assess goal-directed thinking, each of which
are rated using an eight-point response format (1 = Definitely false; 8 = Definitely true). The
items are evenly distributed across the subscales of pathways and agency. A total state hope
score is derived by aggregating responses to all items.
Covariates. Participants completed the eight-item Giessen Subjective Complaints List
(GBB-8; Kliem et al., 2017) and a single item Sleep Quality Scale (SQS; Snyder, Cai,
DeMuro, Morrison, & Ball, 2018). These measures were included in statistical modelling to
control for subjective health and sleep issues that might be precipitated or exacerbated by
stressors related to the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., restricted mobility, loss of income).
Procedure
Ethical approval to conduct this study was granted by the University of Pretoria and
the University of the Free State. Participants were recruited via a nationally representative
consumer email database. Prospective participants were directed to a secure weblink to
complete an electronic version of the survey. Before completing the survey, participants were
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presented with elements of informed consent and gave electronic consent. Informed consent
and the measures were completed in English.
Results
An initial screening of the measures indicated that there were no missing values at the
item level. Descriptive statistics, estimated reliability, and zero-order correlations among the
measures are reported in Table 2. Omega total values for the multi-item measures were ≥ .85.
Pearson correlations revealed that the associations among the measures were negligible to
large (r = |.01 to .56|) in effect size. Well-being evidenced moderate to large positive
associations with state hope, positive religious coping, and sleep quality (r = .31 to .56).
Associations of well-being with negative religious coping and subjective health complaints
were negative and small to moderate in effect size (r = -.30 to -.16).
A three-step multiple linear regression model was used to test for the two-way
interactions of state hope × positive religious coping and state hope × negative religious
coping on well-being. Variable entry order proceeded as follows: sociodemographic
variables, subjective health complaints, and sleep quality (Step one, base model), state hope,
positive religious coping, and negative religious coping (Step two, main effects model), and
the interactions of state hope × positive religious coping and state hope × negative religious
coping (Step three, two-way interaction model). Modeling procedures were performed after
mean centering state hope and the religious coping variables. Sets of Wallyplots indicated
that the residuals for the full model were approximately normal in distribution and that
homogeneity of variance could reasonably be assumed. VIF values for the final model did not
reveal any multicollinearity concerns (all VIF values ≤ 1.37).
The multiple regression results are displayed in Table 4. Inclusion of the control
variables in Step one yielded a medium effect (f2 = .25). The addition of state hope, positive
religious coping, and negative religious coping in Step two yielded a large improvement in
18
model fit (f2 = .52). A marginal improvement in the overall fit of the model was found when
the two-way interactions of state hope × positive religious coping and state hope × negative
religious coping were entered in Step three (f2 = .01). In the final model, state hope (sr2 = .17)
and positive religious coping (sr2 = .02) associated positively with well-being, whereas
negative religious coping was negatively associated with well-being (sr2 = .01). The
interaction of state hope × negative religious coping reached statistical significance (sr2 =
.01).
{TABLE 4 ABOUT HERE}
The two-way interaction between state hope and negative religious coping on well-
being is displayed in Figure 2. Simple slopes analysis revealed that state hope had a stronger
positive association with well-being when negative religious coping was high (b = 1.19, 95%
CI [0.98, 1.41], p < .001) compared to when it was low (b = 0.85, 95% CI [0.62, 1.09], p <
.001).
Similar to the findings of Study 1, the hypothesis that state hope would associate
positively with well-being was supported. There was also evidence in favor of the hypothesis
that religious coping would be associated with well-being, with higher levels of positive
religious coping (and lower levels of negative religious coping) associated with higher levels
of well-being. The interaction between hope and positive religious coping on well-being that
was found in Study 1 did not replicate in this study. Instead, there was evidence of an
interaction between state hope and negative religious coping on well-being. Specifically,
well-being was highest when levels of state hope were high (irrespective of negative religious
coping levels). When state hope was low, well-being tended to be higher when participants
did not express tensions, conflicts, and struggles with their religious faith or experience.
{FIGURE 2 ABOUT HERE}
General Discussion
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The current set of studies extend existing research on psychological resources that
may offer protection against the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by examining relations
between hope, religious coping, and well-being in two under-resourced contexts where
pervasive social-structural disadvantages limit local capacity to effectively deal with and
recover from the public health crisis. In both studies, we found consistent evidence in favor
of our hypotheses that higher levels of hope (both trait and state variants), higher levels of
positive religious coping, and lower levels of negative religious coping would be linked with
higher levels of well-being. There was mixed support for our hypothesis that the relation
between hope and well-being would be moderated by religious coping. The results of Study 1
revealed that positive religious coping (but not negative religious coping) moderated the
association between trait hope and well-being, whereas in Study 2 the association between
state hope and well-being was moderated by negative religious coping (but not positive
religious coping). In both studies, well-being was highest when levels of reported trait and
state hope were high (irrespective of positive or negative religious coping levels). When hope
was low, well-being tended to be higher when positive religious coping was higher (Study 1)
and negative religious coping was lower (Study 2). Although the findings of these two studies
indicate that hope is strongly associated with higher levels of well-being, that relation appears
to depend (in part) on type and degree of religious coping.
Trait and state hope were each associated with higher levels of well-being during
stay-at-home lockdowns in Colombia and South Africa. These findings are consistent with
research that has reported on the role of hopeful thinking in responding adaptively to adverse
circumstances in both health and disaster contexts (Brazeau & Davis, 2018). Despite the
social-structural challenges that exist for many people in Colombia and South Africa, those
who have the underlying willpower and motivation to achieve their desired goals may be
18
better positioned to adjust more adaptively to the public health crisis (Tong, Fredrickson,
Chang, & Lim, 2010).
There was evidence in both studies of positive religious coping associating positively
with well-being, which is consistent with prior research that has pointed to the adaptive
function of drawing on the security of one’s relationship with the sacred to cope with
challenging life events (Prati & Pietrantoni, 2009). In contrast, tensions, struggles, and
conflicts with one’s religious faith (negative religious coping) associated negatively with
well-being. Previous research suggests that relationships with the sacred are often tethered to
places of worship (Counted & Zock, 2019), and religious participation is linked to better
health and well-being (Aten et al., 2019; VanderWeele, Tsai, & Kawachi, 2016). Lockdowns
imposed in Colombia and South Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic deprived people of
access to places of worship and their broader religious communities, which may have strained
spiritual connection with the divine and thwarted opportunities to engage in faith-based
activities that typically supported well-being.
We expected that religious coping strategies would represent an alternative resource
that can support well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic when other psychological
resources (e.g., hope) are low in supply. The findings of both studies provided some evidence
of this, but the results varied across the two studies. In Study 1, participants who reported low
levels of trait hope reported higher levels of well-being when positive religious coping was
higher. Previous research suggests that people who engage positive religious coping
strategies to deal with catastrophic life events (e.g., floods, hurricanes) are able to reinterpret
their circumstances more positively and maintain a sense of control by believing that a divine
purpose is at work (Aten et al., 2019; Chen et al., 2019; Smith, Pargament, Brant, & Oliver,
2000). People with low dispositional hope who drew on religious/spiritual resources to cope
with stressors during the strict stay-at-home lockdowns may have reported higher levels of
18
well-being because they acquired a divine perspective on their circumstances or surrendered
their set of pandemic-related challenges to the sacred in way that supported their well-being.
The findings of Study 2 revealed that well-being was higher among participants who reported
lower levels of state hope when negative religious coping was lower. Research has found that
negative religious coping in response to life-altering events (e.g., loss) can aggravate distress
and prolong psychological recovery (Lee, Roberts, & Gibbons, 2013), both of which can
have immediate and long-term implications for well-being. When combined with a lack of
goal-oriented plans and resources, people who respond to stressors experienced during the
pandemic by engaging in more negative religious coping strategies could find it particularly
challenging to adjust adaptively and emerge resilient in the aftermath of the public health
crisis.
Practical implications
In comparison to structurally advantaged contexts (e.g., the United States, Australia,
Europe) where resources are more widely available to support citizens during periods of
nationwide difficulty, people living in under-resourced countries (e.g., Colombia, South
Africa) may need to look internally for hope or draw on their relationship with a higher
power to adapt successfully to stressors that accompany a period of strict lockdown. More
practically, clinicians should be alert to how religion can be a potential resource, as well as a
source of potential struggle, during the COVID-19 pandemic. As psychologist Paul Johnson
(1959) once wrote: “When the values of life are at stake, there is reason to be earnest. In
times of crisis, religion usually comes to the foreground. The more urgent the need the more
[people] will seek for a response” (p. 82). COVID-19 represents such a crisis, one that reveals
human limitations. It has been and continues to be a source of threat and damage to our
physical lives, psychological well-being, economic security, sense of intimacy and
community with others, and our relationships with whatever we may hold most sacred.
18
Religious response to the COVID-19 pandemic may have particularly important implications
for well-being in vulnerable contexts where the challenges of long-standing social-structural
issues (e.g., poverty) have been amplified by the public health crisis.
Although most providers of psychological services have not received training in how
to address religious and spiritual issues in counseling (Pearce, Pargament, Oxhandler, &
Vieten, & Wong, 2019; Schafer, Handal, Brawer, & Ubinger, 2011), a number of useful
books have been published that can provide guidance (e.g., Jones, 2019; Pargament, 2007;
Rosmarin, 2018). For example, in the initial meeting, clinicians can assess for more and less
constructive roles of religion by asking whether religion is or has been a resource for clients
in dealing with their problems, and whether COVID-19 has affected them religiously or
spiritually in more or less helpful ways (Pargament, 2007). Questions, conflicts, and tensions
about religion can also be addressed with understanding and compassion, as would be the
case with other sensitive topics. Moreover, therapies that integrate hopeful thinking
techniques and religious coping methods into the process of treatment can be effective means
of supporting the well-being of clients during a public health crisis (Aten et al., 2019;
Chamodraka, Fitzpatrick, & Janzen, 2016).
Limitations and directions for future research
There are several methodological limitations of the current studies. First, data in both
studies were collected from countries – Colombia and South Africa – that are less Western,
Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD). Although the findings provide
useful insight into the roles of hope and religious coping in supporting well-being in low
resourced contexts where pre-existing social-structural vulnerabilities are likely to be
exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is uncertain whether the findings from these
two studies generalize to people living in more WEIRD societies. Second, the results of both
studies are based on cross-sectional data, which precludes interpretations of directionality and
18
causality. With evidence suggesting that psychological and spiritual outcomes may fluctuate
in the aftermath of natural disasters (e.g., Hurricanes) and during the COVID-19 pandemic
(Aten et al., 2019; Chen et al., 2019; Pirutinsky, Cherniak, & Rosmarin, 2020), longitudinal
approaches are needed to understand the effects of hope and religious coping on mental
health and well-being at different stages of the public health crisis.
Conclusion
The current set of studies suggest that hope and positive religious coping may serve as
protective resources that support well-being in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. During
a period of public health crisis when a multi-layered combination of extraneous
circumstances obstructs pathways to reaching established goals or make it challenging to
regain hope, adaptive features of religious coping appear to offer a potential avenue for
sustaining well-being. Hope and coping responses (religious or otherwise) are likely to be
valuable resources for promoting positive adjustment in the aftermath of the COVID-19,
especially in vulnerable contexts where psychosocial mechanisms may be needed to
accelerate the recovery process.
Disclosure statement
The authors report no potential conflict of interest.
18
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18
Table 1
Sample characteristics in Studies 1 and 2
Study 1 (N = 1172)
Study 2 (N = 451)
Age (years), M ± SD (range)
21.70 ± 3.96 (18-61)
33.54 ± 11.93 (18-74)
Sex, n (%)
1166
451
Female
728 (62.12)
297 (65.85)
Male
438 (37.37)
154 (34.15)
Racial statusa, n (%)
-
451
Asian
-
1 (0.22)
Black African
-
334 (74.06)
Coloured
-
37 (8.20)
Indian
-
7 (1.55)
White
-
68 (15.08)
Other
-
4 (0.89)
Education level, n (%)
1172
451
Less than high school
1 (0.09)
90 (19.96)
Completed high school
757 (64.59)
221 (49.00)
Post-secondary school certificate
-
32 (7.10)
Diploma or technical degree
261 (22.27)
68 (15.08)
Bachelor’s degree
89 (7.59)
30 (6.65)
Post-graduate degree (e.g., Hons, MA, MD, PhD)
4 (0.34)
10 (2.22)
Other post-secondary education (e.g., professional education)
60 (5.12)
-
Marital status, n (%)
1172
451
Married
26 (2.22)
89 (19.73)
Cohabiting
61 (5.20)
57 (12.64)
In a relationship
95 (8.11)
60 (13.30)
Single
981 (83.70)
209 (46.34)
Divorced
5 (0.43)
20 (4.43)
Separated
-
10 (2.22)
Widowed
4 (0.34)
6 (1.33)
Religious status, n (%)
1172
451
Christian
912 (77.82)
374 (82.93)
Muslim
2 (0.17)
18 (3.99)
Taoism
1 (0.09)
-
Buddhist
4 (0.34)
0 (0.00)
Something else
44 (3.75)
6 (1.33)
Not religious
209 (17.83)
-
Ancestral, tribal, animist, or other traditional African religion
-
26 (5.76)
Hindu
-
2 (0.44)
Jewish
-
1 (0.22)
Atheist
-
1 (0.22)
Agnostic
-
1 (0.22)
Nothing in particular
-
5 (1.11)
Do not know
-
1 (0.22)
Prefer not to answer
-
16 (3.55)
Note. M = mean, SD = standard deviation. Percentages (%) are unweighted and may not add up to 100% due to
missing values. Demographic characteristics that do not contain summary statistics were not assessed. aRace
categories were adopted from Statistics South Africa (2016) to maintain consistency with general reporting
practices on race in South Africa.
18
Table 2
Descriptive statistics, internal consistency estimates, and bivariate associations among variables in Study 1 (N = 1172) and Study 2 (N = 451)
M ± SD (range)
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
Study 1
(1) Well-being
78.78 ± 16.38 (10-100)
.92#
(2) Trait hope
27.36 ± 3.70 (10-32)
.67*** [.64, .70]
.89##
(3) Positive religious coping
23.24 ± 5.31 (7-28)
.34*** [.29, .39]
.35*** [.30, .40]
.97##
(4) Negative religious coping
13.30 ± 5.92 (7-28)
-.32*** [-.37, -.26]
-.24*** [-.30, -.19]
.08** [.02, .14]
.94##
Study 2
(1) Well-being
73.57 ± 17.66 (16-100)
.87#
(2) State hope
37.61 ± 7.98 (10-48)
.56*** [.49, .62]
.85##
(3) Positive religious coping
24.91 ± 4.76 (7-28)
.31*** [.23, .39]
.26*** [.18, .35]
.96##
(4) Negative religious coping
14.59 ± 6.24 (7-28)
-.16*** [-.25, -.07]
.01 [-.08, .10]
.14** [.04, .23]
.92##
(5) Subjective health complaints
10.27 ± 8.19 (0-32)
-.30*** [-.39, -.22]
-.08 [-.17, .01]
-.01 [-.11, .08]
.26*** [.17, .35]
.92##
(6) Sleep quality
56.10 ± 27.14 (0-100)
.35*** [.27, .43]
.17*** [.08, .26]
.05 [-.04, .14]
-.13** [-.22, -.04]
-.40*** [-.48, -.32]
-
Note. *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001. M = mean, SD = standard deviation. 95% confidence intervals for Pearson correlations in brackets. Internal consistency values (in
parentheses along diagonal) estimated using #ordinal omega total and ##omega total.
18
Table 3
Summary statistics for hierarchical regression analysis in Study 1 (N = 1166)
Independent variable
Criterion variable = Well-being
b [95% CI]
sr2 [95% CI]
F (df)
R2 [95% CI]
R2
Step one: Base model (controls only)
6.27*** (5, 1160)
.026 [.008, .044]
-
(Intercept)
76.38*** [72.18, 80.58]
Age
0.06 [-0.13, 0.25]
.00 [-.00, .00]
Sex
3.55*** [2.15, 4.95]
.01 [.00, .02]
Education level
0.48 [-1.00, 1.97]
.00 [-.00, .00]
Marital status
-0.03 [-2.70, 2.63]
.00 [-.00, .00]
Religious status
0.23 [-1.65, 2.10]
.00 [-.00, .00]
Step two: Main effect model
150.00*** (8, 1157)
.509 [.469, .549]
.483***
Trait hope
2.38*** [2.17, 2.59]
.21 [.18, .25]
Positive religious coping
0.52*** [0.37, 0.67]
.02 [.01, .03]
Negative religious coping
-0.53*** [-0.65, -0.41]
.03 [.02, .05]
Step three: Two-way interaction model
123.60*** (10, 1155)
.517 [.478, .556]
.008***
Trait hope × positive religious coping
-0.06*** [-0.09, -0.03]
.01 [.00, .01]
Trait hope × negative religious coping
0.03 [-0.00, 0.06]
.00 [-.00, .00]
Note. Dummy codes for demographic variables are as follows: Sex (0 = female, 1 = male), Education level (0 = other education level, 1 = post-
secondary education), Marital status (0 = other, 1 = married or cohabiting), Religious status (0 = not religious, 1 = religious). *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p <
.001.
18
Table 4
Summary statistics for hierarchical regression analysis in Study 2 (N = 451)
Independent variable
Criterion variable = Well-being
b [95% CI]
sr2 [95% CI]
F (df)
R2 [95% CI]
R2
Step one: Base model (controls only)
13.61*** (8, 442)
.198 [.133, .262]
-
(Intercept)
63.51*** [54.79, 72.23]
Age
-0.03 [-0.15, 0.09]
.00 [-.00, .00]
Sex
2.35 [-0.32, 5.03]
.00 [-.00, .01]
Racial status
-0.81 [-4.68, 3.06]
.00 [-.00, .00]
Education level
-1.05 [-3.73, 1.63]
.00 [-.00, .00]
Marital status
2.80 [-0.01, 5.61]
.00 [-.00, .01]
Religious status
7.19* [1.67, 12.72]
.01 [-.00, .02]
Subjective health complaints
-0.32*** [-0.49, -0.15]
.02 [-.00, .03]
Sleep quality
0.12*** [0.07, 0.17]
.03 [.01, .05]
Step two: Main effect model
35.61*** (11, 439)
.472 [.407, .536]
.274***
State hope
1.02*** [0.86, 1.19]
.17 [.12, .23]
Positive religious coping
0.64*** [0.36, 0.93]
.02 [.00, .04]
Negative religious coping
-0.34** [-0.56, -0.13]
.01 [-.00, .03]
Step three: Two-way interaction model
30.67*** (13, 437)
.477 [.413, .541]
.006
State hope × positive religious coping
-0.00 [-0.03, 0.03]
.00 [-.00, .00]
State hope × negative religious coping
0.03* [0.00, 0.05]
.01 [-.00, .02]
Note. Dummy codes for demographic variables are as follows: Sex (0 = female, 1 = male), Racial status (0 = white, 1 = non-white), Education level (0 =
other education level, 1 = post-secondary education), Marital status (0 = other, 1 = married or cohabiting), Religious status (0 = not religious, 1 =
religious). *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001.
18
Figure 1. Trait hope × positive religious coping and well-being.
Figure 2. State hope × negative religious coping and well-being.
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
10 15 20 25 30
Trait hope
Well-being
Positive religious coping
High positive religious coping
Low positive religious coping
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
15 25 35 45
State hope
Well-being
Negative religious coping
High negative religious coping
Low negative religious coping
... That is why knowledge of an individual's level of hope can be said to facilitate empathy and assist the individual in overcoming their obstacles (Duncan et al., 2021). The pandemic has been a risk factor threatening our health, and with levels of stress rising due to the imposition of social restrictions; hope is being considered as a source of well-being (Counted et al., 2022). Despite whatever restrictions, people still need hope to realize their goals and maintain their motivation. ...
... Studies showed that during the COVID-19 period, mindfulness increased levels of happiness (Götmann & Bechtoldt, 2021;Matiz et al., 2020;Widha et al., 2021), as did hope (Counted et al., 2022;Gallagher et al., 2021). Despite there being numerous cross-sectional studies that examined these relationships, such is not the case with longitudinal ones. ...
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Cross-sectional findings indicated the relationship between mindfulness, hope, and wellbeing. To address the limitations associated with cross-sectional designs, the present study sought to examine whether hope mediated the longitudinal relationship between mindfulness and subjective happiness during the pandemic. To examine these hypotheses, we used the Subjective Happiness Scale, Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, and Dispositional Hope Scale by conducting two waves of surveys within a three-month interval, with 254 participants from 44 of Turkey's total 81 cities. Results of cross-lagged panel model for a half-longitudinal design indicated mindfulness conferred strengthening for subjective happiness three months later via hope. The current findings highlight the important roles of mindfulness and hope on subjective happiness during the pandemic.
... There are research results revealing that hope is directly related to psychological health (e.g., Kato & Snyder, 2005;Rawdin et al., 2013). In the study of Counted et al. (2022), it was determined that hopeful individuals had higher levels of psychological wellbeing. It has also been reported in the literature that there are statistically significant relationships between hope and life satisfaction, positive and negative effects, subjective wellbeing and quality of life (e. ...
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... Importantly, however, a validation study by the authors showed that resilience no longer predicts psychological flourishing with the inclusion of hope. Another study by Counted et al. (2020), sampling Columbians and South Africans, showed a positive association between hope and well-being. The review of these studies indicates two important details for the current work. ...
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Studies on previous outbreaks of contagious diseases suggest that the impact of the emotions associated with an epidemic can be greater than that of the epidemic in terms of the number of people affected. This study explores the relationships between the three most commonly expressed emotional responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (fear, anger, and depression) and two outcome variables (compliance with the social-distancing policy and the stigmatization of those infected by COVID-19). A large online, public opinion survey was conducted in South Korea (n = 1000) between 4 and 11 June 2020, which was between the first and the second waves of COVID-19. A series of regression analyses suggest that the emotional response was accompanied by differential behavioral and perceptual consequences. Fear was consistently positively related to all indicators of compliance with social-distancing policies (the voluntary practice of social distancing, support for the “routine-life-distancing” policy, and support for stronger social-distancing policies). Anger was positively related to both stigmatization indicators (responsibility attribution and stigmatizing attitude toward people infected with COVID-19). Finally, depression showed negative relationships with support for the “routine-life-distancing” policy and for stronger social-distancing policies but a positive relationship with the voluntary practice of social distancing. By examining whether and how certain types of emotional responses are more or less related to compliance with social distancing and stigmatization, the present study provides practical implications for effective public communication during an epidemic such as COVID-19.
... Internet search data could be a potentially useful resource that complements and extends evidence acquired from traditional methodologies (e.g., public health surveillance studies) about the health-related implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of the many ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted human life (Counted et al., 2020;Cowden et al., 2021), scholars have leveraged Google searches to explore the impact of this public health crisis on mental health. Some studies have used descriptive approaches to report broad changes in searches for mental health concepts from before to during the COVID-19 pandemic, with evidence largely supporting an increase in relevant searches. ...
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Declaration of cCompeting iInterestNone.Abstract Objectives We examined the associations of lockdown stringency and duration with Google searches for four mental health concepts (i.e., “Anxiety,” “Depression,” “Suicide,” “Mental Health”) in nine countries (i.e., Hungary, India, Iran, Italy, Paraguay, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods We retrieved national-level data for each country from Google Trends and the Global Panel Database of Pandemic Policies. In our primary analysis, we used data from all countries to estimate a set of multilevel regression models examining associations of overall lockdown stringency and lockdown duration with relative search volumes for each mental health term. We repeated the models after replacing overall lockdown stringency with each of the lockdown stringency components. Results A negative association was found between overall lockdown stringency and “Depression.” Lockdown duration and the most stringent stay-at-home requirements were negatively associated with “Anxiety.” Policies that recommended or required the cancelation of public events evidenced negative associations with “Depression,” whereas associations between policies that required some or all levels of schooling to close and “Depression” were positive. Policies that recommended or required workplaces to close and those that enforced quarantines on non-citizens arriving from high-risk regions or closed borders entirely were negatively associated with “Suicide.“ Conclusions Lockdown duration and some lockdown policies during the COVID-19 pandemic were generally associated with significantly lower, rather than higher, Google searches for selected mental health terms. These findings could be used alongside other evidence to develop future lockdown strategies that are sensitive to mental health issues during public health crises.
... These findings could be explained by the stress mobilization hypothesis (Pargament, 1997), which refers to the notion that stressors can precipitate religious/spiritual coping responses (e.g., seeking comfort from God through prayer). Those who reported an increase in religiosity may have been seeking religious/spiritual resources that could provide them with some relief from the distress they were experiencing during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic (Cowden et al., 2021a;Counted et al., 2022). ...
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... In response to rapid global transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), health authorities in many parts of the world instituted public health control measures to limit transmission of the virus (Counted et al., 2020;Govender et al., 2020). Community mitigation strategies designed to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2 varied across countries, with some enforcing stringent lockdowns at one or more points during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic (Counted et al., 2021). ...
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... Further research is needed to determine whether the findings generalise to the broader Indonesian population and specific subpopulations (e.g., older adults, people with disabilities) within the country, as well as whether the findings can be applied to populations living in other sociocultural contexts. Second, this study took place during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, a time when people in many parts of the world (including Indonesia) were dealing with a wide range of adversities (e.g., stringent lockdowns, loss of loved ones) that had the potential to precipitate distress and disrupt wellbeing (Counted et al., 2022;De Kock et al., 2022;Govender et al., 2020). Our findings should be considered in light of the context in which data collection occurred, as participants' responses may have been affected by the pandemic-related circumstances they were facing. ...
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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has created extraordinary challenges and prompted remarkable social changes around the world. The effects of COVID-19 and the public health control measures that have been implemented to mitigate its impact are likely to be accompanied by a unique set of consequences for specific subpopulations living in low-income countries that have fragile health systems and pervasive social-structural vulnerabilities. This paper discusses the implications of COVID-19 and related public health interventions for children and young people living in Eastern and Southern Africa. Actionable prevention, care, and health promotion initiatives are proposed to attenuate the negative effects of the pandemic and government-enforced movement restrictions on children and young people.
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COVID-19 along with the mitigation strategies being used to address the virus pose significant threats to our individual and collective mental health. As the crisis evolves and persists, it will be increasingly important for the research community to conduct investigations that address the mental health consequences of COVID-19. The causes of mental health effects in the context of COVID-19 are multifactorial and likely include biological, behavioral, and environmental determinants. We argue that the COVID-19 crisis significantly threatens our basic human need for human connection, which might serve as a crucial environmental factor that could underlie the overall insult to our mental health. Furthermore, “brain styles,” which we have previously conceptualized as “biotypes” that are informed by a neural taxonomy, might interact with the universal threat to our need for human connection to explain the mental health consequences of COVID-19 from a precision psychiatry perspective. The goal of this commentary is to inspire research on the mental health consequences of COVID-19 from an individualized, brain-based perspective that honors the profound threat that the virus poses to our basic human motivations.
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The expression of attachment to the divine in certain places among different groups has been documented by anthropologists and sociologists for decades. However, the psychological processes by which this happens are not yet fully understood. This paper focuses on the concept of “place spirituality” (PS) as a psychological mechanism which allows the religious believer or non-believer to achieve an organized attachment strategy, involving the interplay of place and spiritual attachment. First, PS is considered as an experience which satisfies the attachment relationship criteria, in that geographic places and divine entities can be perceived as “objects” of attachment. Secondly, it is proposed that the maturational aspects of attachment repertoire in adults make the PS experience possible since adults’ cognitive abilities are much wider than those of children and can include relationships to geographical spaces and invisible divine entities. Finally, the theme of PS is explored to further position the concept as a relational paradigm for understanding the relationship between place experiences and spiritual attachment.
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These two cross-sectional studies examined whether trauma impacts disaster survivors’ psychological well-being through its influence on positive and negative religious coping and on dispositional forgivingness and hope. Colombia was selected because it is a highly religious country that has endured a protracted armed conflict (1964-present) and recent, devastating natural disaster (2017 Mocoa landslide). Study 1 focused on 272 conflict survivors in Monteria; Study 2 focused on 1,651 landslide survivors. All participants completed Spanish versions of the PTSD CheckList-5, Kessler-10, Brief RCOPE, Trait Forgivingness Scale, Herth Hope Index, and Positive Psychotherapy Inventory. In Study 1, survivors’ trauma contributed to greater negative religious coping, then to lower dispositional forgivingness and hope, and ultimately to lower well-being. Study 2 results replicated this finding and also revealed evidence that survivors’ trauma contributed to higher positive religious coping, then greater dispositional forgivingness and hope, and ultimately better well-being. Implications for disaster research and practice are discussed.
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Religion and spirituality are areas of diversity and multiculturalism that have yet to be comprehensively addressed in most mental health training programs. Without this type of training, many practitioners lack the competence and confidence to engage in spiritually competent care-clinical practice that recognizes the importance of religion and spirituality in people's identity, worldview, meaning-making, and, therefore, their psychological well-being. Emerging research on treatment outcomes and client preferences, as well as professional ethical mandates, support the need for training in spiritual competencies for mental health care. To address the gap between current professional training and the needs and realities of clinical practice, we have developed an online training program to assist practitioners in building their competency and comfort levels in integrating religion and spirituality into treatment. Spiritual Competency Training in Mental Health (SCT-MH) is a 7-hour asynchronous, online program consisting of 8 modules. The modules are designed to develop basic competency in 16 empirically derived spiritual competencies in mental health. The content was derived from numerous instructional materials and peer-reviewed publications, with input from leading experts in the field of spirituality and mental health. It is a multidisciplinary program, allowing mental health providers from any discipline and orientation to participate. The material is applicable for working with clients with a wide range of mental health issues from diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds. In this article, we will discuss how the program was developed, what it entails, who it was developed for, and future efforts to test it empirically.
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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).
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Study objectives: A single-item sleep quality scale (SQS) was developed as a simple and practical sleep quality assessment and psychometrically evaluated. Methods: SQS measurement characteristics were evaluated using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and morning questionnaire-insomnia (MQI) according to prespecified analysis plans in separate clinical studies of patients with insomnia and depression. Patients with insomnia (n = 70) received 4 weeks usual care with FDA-approved hypnotic agent; patients with depression (n = 651) received 8 weeks active or experimental therapy. Results: Concurrent criterion validity (correlation with measures of a similar construct) was demonstrated by strong (inverse) correlations between the SQS and MQI (week 1 Pearson correlation .76) and PSQI (week 8 Goodman-Kruskal correlation .92) sleep quality items in populations with insomnia and depression, respectively. In patients with depression, stronger correlations between the SQS and PSQI core sleep quality components versus other items supported convergent/divergent construct validity (similarity/dissimilarity to related/unrelated measures). Known-groups validity was evidenced by decreasing mean SQS scores across those who sleep normally, are borderline to having sleep problems, and those with problems sleeping. Test-retest reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient) was .62 during a 4-week period of sleep stability in patients with insomnia and .74 in stable patients with depression (1 week). Effect sizes (standardized response means) for change from baseline were 1.32 (week 1) and 0.67 (week 8) in populations with insomnia and depression, respectively. Mean SQS changes from baseline to week 8 convergently decreased across groups of patients with depression categorized by level of PSQI sleep quality improvement. Conclusions: The SQS possesses favorable measurement characteristics relative to lengthier or more frequently administered sleep questionnaires in patients with insomnia and depression. Clinical trial registration: Registry: ClincalTrials.gov, Title: Treatment of Patients With Major Depressive Disorder With MK0869, Identifier: NCT00034983, URL: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00034983.
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Objective: Several studies of people with spinal cord injury (SCI) have indicated that high levels of hope are linked with better adjustment, but none has assessed the extent to which hope predicts change in adjustment over time. This study examines the effect of hope assessed within the first months post-SCI onset on changes in several indicators of well-being just prior to release from institutional care and again 13 months post-SCI. Method: Structured interviews were conducted with 67 adults (54 men, 13 women; Mage = 44.7 years, SD = 17.2) with SCI on average 2.6 months (Time 1), 5 months (Time 2; n = 60), and 13 months post-SCI (Time 3; n = 53) using validated instruments to assess dispositional hope, depressive symptoms, subjective well-being, self-esteem, reintegration, and pain. Results: Regression analyses revealed that, of the five indicators of well-being, hope at Time 1 only significantly predicted increases in subjective well-being at Time 2. However, hope predicted increased well-being on 4 of 5 indicators at Time 3. Hope was not significantly associated with changes in self-esteem at either follow-up assessment. Conclusion: People with high levels of hope appear to be better able to adjust to the challenges faced once they leave the rehabilitation center. Psycho-educational interventions that promote agency and pathway thinking may lead to better longer-term adjustment. (PsycINFO Database Record