JAN 11, 2021 7:30 AM PST

Religion Promotes Psychology-backed Methods to Manage Distress

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have found that psychologists recommend similar mechanisms to those used by religious people to increase wellbeing and reduce distress.

The research was inspired by earlier studies finding that religious people tend to use a coping strategy similar to 'cognitive reappraisal'- reframing a distressing situation in a more constructive light. For example, whereas a religious person may come to terms with a loved one's death by saying: 'They are with God now.' a nonreligious person may say: 'At least they are no longer suffering.'

To investigate the degree to which religious people rely on and benefit from such reappraisals to regulate emotions, the researchers conducted a study of 203 people, 57 of whom had some level of religious or spiritual belief. The researchers then asked each participant about their coping style, such as how often they reappraise negative situations with more positive interpretations and whether they suppress their emotions. 

The researchers also assessed each participants' confidence in their ability to cope and assessed them for symptoms of depression and anxiety. Religious participants were further surveyed on whether they found comfort in their religious or spiritual beliefs. 

All in all, the researchers found that religious coping mechanisms were linked to lower anxiety levels and fewer depressive symptoms. In particular, they highlighted cognitive reappraisal and coping self-efficacy (confidence in overcoming a stressful situation) to be key reasons behind the lower rates of negative emotion and reactivity among religious or spiritual participants. 

The researchers say that the study should be taken into consideration by clinical psychologists who work with clients from religious backgrounds. They also say that the findings should also be of interest to clergy members and church leaders who can promote such cognitive reappraisal and self-efficacy. 

 

Sources: Neuroscience NewsJournal of Religion and Health

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
OCT 21, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Why Some Astronauts Get Blurry Vision After Spaceflight
OCT 21, 2020
Why Some Astronauts Get Blurry Vision After Spaceflight
Researchers from the University of Antwerp in Belgium have found that the fluid surrounding the brain, known as craniosp ...
OCT 22, 2020
Neuroscience
Psychedelic Experiences Reduce Narcissistic Personality Traits
OCT 22, 2020
Psychedelic Experiences Reduce Narcissistic Personality Traits
Researchers from the UK have found that psychedelic drugs can positively affect narcissistic personality traits- by redu ...
OCT 24, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Software Flags Elevated Cerebral Palsy Risk in Premies
OCT 24, 2020
Software Flags Elevated Cerebral Palsy Risk in Premies
Diagnostic imaging scientists have developed a software tool for predicting the future onset of cerebral palsy in babies ...
NOV 20, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Can Cannabis Treat Opiate Addiction?
NOV 20, 2020
Can Cannabis Treat Opiate Addiction?
As cannabis products become more popular, many healthcare professionals are starting to consider the plant as a part of ...
JAN 01, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Common Brain Disorder Has a Genetic Influence
JAN 01, 2021
Common Brain Disorder Has a Genetic Influence
It's thought that as many as one in one hundred people are born with a brain disorder known as Chiari 1 malformation, bu ...
JAN 03, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
How Psychedelic Salvinorin A Works in the Brain
JAN 03, 2021
How Psychedelic Salvinorin A Works in the Brain
Despite increasing interest in hallucinogens, the effects of Salvinorin A, a drug used in Native Mexican rituals, have r ...
Loading Comments...