Religion and Coping: The Current State of Knowledge

Kenneth I. Pargament

in The Oxford Handbook of Stress, Health, and Coping

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780195375343
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Religion and Coping: The Current State of Knowledge

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  • Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Social Psychology



This chapter reviews the current state of knowledge about religion and coping. It begins with a definition and theoretical model of religion, and then addresses several themes that have emerged from this rapidly growing body of study: (1) Religion can be embedded in every part of the coping process; (2) Religion adds a distinctive dimension to the coping process; (3) The role of religion in coping is determined by the availability of religion and perceptions that it offers compelling solutions; (4) Religion can be both helpful and harmful; and (5) Religion can be integrated more fully into the process of treatment. Overall, it has become clear that religion is an integral, rich, and multidimensional part of the coping process, one that should not be overlooked in studies of people experiencing major life stressors. The paper concludes with a discussion of future directions for research in this area of inquiry.

Keywords: religion; spirituality; stress; trauma; coping; struggle; post-traumatic growth; meaning; physical health; mental health

Article.  15269 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Health Psychology ; Social Psychology

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