Date of Completion

Spring 5-6-2012

Thesis Advisor(s)

Crystal L. Park

Honors Major

Psychology

Disciplines

Psychology | Religion

Abstract

Previous studies of religion and coping have looked at how an event can strengthen or weaken beliefs. However, few studies have explicitly examined the linkages between beliefs, coping strategies, and well-being. In an attempt to look at this more closely, the present study surveyed 193 undergraduates that believe or do not believe in God to see how they report coping with stress. The relationships between beliefs in God, worldview beliefs, different levels of life satisfaction, psychological well-being, and coping methods after a stressful event were also assessed in this study. We expected that stronger beliefs in a benevolent world, control, and God would be related to coping better with a stressful event, as evidenced by higher psychological well-being and life satisfaction. In addition, we also anticipated that those with stronger beliefs would use more positive reappraisal and religious coping with stress. Our results showed many differences between believers and non-believers. After a stressful event, believers tended to use religious coping and positive reframing more than non-believers. There were also significant differences between the two groups on their views of suffering. Although limited by some methodological factors, this study is important in demonstrating that there are relationships between coping methods, worldview beliefs, beliefs in God, and well-being.