Public Forum Papers Invited Paper

Ageing International

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 3-27

First online:

The many faces of religious coping in late life: Conceptualization, measurement, and links to well-being

  • Erin E. EmeryAffiliated withLong Island Jewish Medical Center Email author 
  • , Kenneth I. Pargament

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Most older adults report using religion as a resource in coping with the many challenges of late life. Until recently, our understanding of religion in coping was limited by studies utilizing unidimensional measures of religion, which did little to explain the power that religion seems to have for so many people. More recently, multiple facets of religious coping have been explored, along with the implications of their use for many populations, including older adults. In this paper, we examine approaches to conceptualization and measurement of religious coping as they relate to the challenges of late life. We consider some of the social, situational, and personal factors that shape the character of religious coping. We also review the literature on links between forms of religious coping and measures of health and well-being for older adults. Finally, we review recent efforts to incorporate religion and spirituality into psychological interventions, and discuss implications of religious factors in late life for a variety of professionals in gerontology.