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Religion | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


Christopher P. Scheitle, Sociology


Stress is an aspect of daily life. Stressors can be mentally taxing to an individual and cause negative effects when it comes to health. To combat stress, most individuals implement one or more personal coping mechanisms. However, though individuals may encounter similar stressors in life, each person combats the accompanied stress in vastly different ways. In some cases, individuals turn to religion to make sense of their circumstances and buffer their stress (Nash 2006; Jacobson, et al. 2006). Most previous research has looked at whether religion functions as an effective coping mechanism while not necessarily addressing why certain people use religion and others do not. In this way, religion has primarily been treated as an independent variable by previous studies rather than a dependent one. This study examines religion as a dependent variable and uniquely focuses on the societal elements and differentiations that contribute to the likelihood an individual will utilize religious coping in relation to a life event stressor in the first place. Knowledge of this result can lead to better understanding of patients’ needs by understanding the way social background affects a patient’s perceived available resources for coping with stress. An increased awareness of differentiation in coping mechanisms in relation to patient care has the possibility to contribute to the offering of more comprehensive care resources.