Date: 23 Feb 2011
The distinct roles of spirituality and religiosity in physical and mental health after collective trauma: a national longitudinal study of responses to the 9/11 attacks
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Researchers have identified health implications of religiosity and spirituality but have rarely addressed differences between these dimensions. The associations of religiosity and spirituality with physical and mental health were examined in a national sample (N = 890) after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (9/11). Health information was collected before 9/11 and health, religiosity, and spirituality were assessed longitudinally during six waves of data collection over the next 3 years. Religiosity (i.e., participation in religious social structures) predicted higher positive affect (β = .12), fewer cognitive intrusions (β = −.07), and lower odds of new onset mental (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = .88) and musculoskeletal (IRR = .94) ailments. Spirituality (i.e., subjective commitment to spiritual or religious beliefs) predicted higher positive affect (β = .09), lower odds of new onset infectious ailments (IRR = 0.83), more intrusions (β = .10) and a more rapid decline in intrusions over time (β = −.10). Religiosity and spirituality independently predict health after a collective trauma, controlling for pre-event health status; they are not interchangeable indices of religion.
Baker, L. C., Bundorf, M. K., Singer, S., & Wagner, T. H. (2003). Validity of the survey of health and Internet and Knowledge Network’s panel and sampling. Stanford, CA: Stanford University.
Blanchard, E. B., Jones-Alexander, J., Buckley, T. C., & Forneris, C. A. (1996). Psychometric properties of the PTSD Checklist (PCL). Behavior Research and Therapy, 13, 669–673.CrossRef
Dennis, J. M. (2001). Are Internet panels creating professional respondents? The benefits of online panels far outweigh the potential for panel effects. Summer: Marketing Research.
Derogatis, L. R. (2001). BSI 18: Administration, scoring, and procedures manual. Minneapolis, MN: NCS Pearson.
Diener, E., Smith, H., & Fujita, F. (1995). The personality structure of affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 130–141.CrossRef
Ellison, C. G., & George, L. K. (1994). Religious involvement, social ties, and social support in the southeastern community. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 33, 46–61.CrossRef
George, L. K., Ellison, C. G., & Larson, D. B. (2002). Explaining the relationship between religious involvement and health. Psychological Inquiry, 13, 190–200.CrossRef
Gorsuch, R. L., & McPherson, S. E. (1989). Intrinsic/extrinsic measurement: I/E-revised and single-item scales. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 28, 348–354.CrossRef
Greenberg, M. A. (1995). Cognitive processing of traumas: The role of intrusive thoughts and reappraisals. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 25, 1262–1296.CrossRef
Hackney, C. H., & Sanders, G. S. (2003). Religiosity and mental health: A meta-analysis of recent studies. Journal for the Scientific Study Religion, 42, 43–55.CrossRef
Horowitz, M. J. (1997). Stress response syndromes (3rd ed.). Northvale, NJ: Aronson.
Janoff-Bulman, R. (1992). Shattered assumptions: Towards a new psychology of trauma. NY: Free Press.
Jansen, K. L., Motley, R., & Hovey, J. (2010). Anxiety, depression and students’ religiosity. Mental Health, Religion, and Culture, 13, 267–271.CrossRef
Kemeny, M. E., & Schedlowski, M. (2007). Understanding the interaction between psychosocial stress and immune-related disease: A stepwise progression. Brain Behavior and Immunity, 21, 1009–1018.CrossRef
Koenig, H. G. (2009). Research on religion, spirituality, and mental health: A review. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 54, 283–291.
Koenig, H. G., & Larson, D. B. (2001). Religion and mental health: Evidence for an association. International Review of Psychiatry, 13, 67–78.CrossRef
Koenig, H. G., McCullough, M. E., & Larson, D. B. (2001). Handbook of religion and health. London: Oxford University Press.CrossRef
Krause, N. (2006). Exploring the stress-buffering effects of church-based and secular social support on self-rated health in late life. Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 61, S35–S43.CrossRef
Ladd, K. L., & McIntosh, D. N. (2008). Meaning, God, and prayer: Physical and metaphysical aspects of social support. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 11, 23–38.CrossRef
Loewenthal, K. M., MacLeod, A. K., Goldblatt, V., Lubitsh, G., & Valentine, J. D. (2000). Comfort and joy? Religion, cognition, and mood in Protestants and Jews under stress. Cognition & Emotion, 14, 355–374.CrossRef
McIntosh, D. N. (1995). Religion as schema, with implications for the relation between religion and coping. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 5, 1–16.CrossRef
McIntosh, D., & Spilka, B. (1990). Religion and physical health: The role of personal faith and control beliefs. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, 2, 167–194.
Newton, A. T., & McIntosh, D. N. (2009). Associations of general religiousness and specific religious beliefs with coping appraisals in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 12, 129–146.CrossRef
Newton, A. T., & McIntosh, D. N. (2010). Specific religious beliefs in a cognitive appraisal model of stress and coping. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 20, 39–58.CrossRef
Oman, D., & Thoresen, C. E. (2005). Do religion and spirituality influence health? In R. F. Paloutzian & C. L. Park (Eds.), Handbook of the psychology of religion and spirituality (pp. 435–459). NY: Guilford.
Pargament, K. I. (1997). The psychology of religion and coping: Theory, research, practice. NY: Guilford.
Pargament, K. I., Magyar-Russell, G. M., & Murray-Swank, N. A. (2005). The sacred and the search for significance: Religion as a unique process. Journal of Social Issues, 64, 665–687.CrossRef
Park, C. L. (2005). Religion as a meaning-making framework in coping with life stress. Journal of Social Issues, 61, 707–729.CrossRef
Park, C., & Cohen, L. H. (1993). Religious and nonreligious coping with the death of a friend. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 17, 561–577.CrossRef
Park, C. L., & Folkman, S. (1997). Meaning in the context of stress and coping. Review of General Psychology, 1, 115–144.CrossRef
Pennebaker, J. W., & Harber, K. D. (1993). A social stage model of collective coping: The Loma Prieta Earthquake and the Persian Gulf War. Journal of Social Issues, 4, 125–145.CrossRef
Schnall, E., Wassertheil-Smoller, S., Swencionis, C., Zemon, V., Tinker, L., O’Sullivan, M. J., et al. (2010). The relationship between religion and cardiovascular outcomes and all-cause mortality in the women’s health initiative observational study. Psychology & Health, 25, 249–263.CrossRef
Seybold, K. S., & Hill, P. C. (2001). The role of religion and spirituality in mental and physical health. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10, 21–24.CrossRef
Siegel, K., Anderman, S. J., & Schrimshaw, E. W. (2001). Religion and coping with health-related stress. Psychology and Health, 16, 631–653.CrossRef
Silver, R. L., Boon, C., & Stones, M. H. (1983). Searching for meaning in misfortune: Making sense of incest. Journal of Social Issues, 39(2), 81–102.CrossRef
Silver, R. C., Holman, E. A., McIntosh, D. N., Poulin, M., Gil-Rivas, V., & Pizarro, J. (2006). Coping with a national trauma: A nationwide longitudinal study of responses to the terrorist attacks of September 11th. In Y. Neria, R. Gross, R. Marshall, & E. Susser (Eds.), 9/11: Mental health in the wake of terrorist attacks (pp. 45–70). NY: Cambridge University Press.CrossRef
Singer, J. D., & Willett, J. B. (2003). Applied longitudinal data analysis: Modeling change and event occurrence. NY: Oxford University Press.
Tait, R., & Silver, R. C. (1989). Coming to terms with major negative life events. In J. S. Uleman & J. A. Bargh (Eds.), Unintended thought (pp. 351–382). NY: Guilford.
Taylor, S. E. (1983). Adjustment to threatening events: A theory of cognitive adaptation. American Psychologist, 38, 1161–1173.CrossRef
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (1994). Vital and health statistics: Evaluation of national health interview survey diagnostic reporting. Hyattsville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2000). National health interview survey questionnaire 2000. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
Weiss, D. S., & Marmar, C. R. (1997). The impact of event scale—Revised. In J. P. Wilson & T. M. Keane (Eds.), Assessing psychological trauma and PTSD (pp. 399–411). NY: Guilford.
World Health Organization. (1999). International classification of diseases 9th revision: Clinical modification (5th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Practice Management Information Corp.
- The distinct roles of spirituality and religiosity in physical and mental health after collective trauma: a national longitudinal study of responses to the 9/11 attacks
Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Volume 34, Issue 6 , pp 497-507
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer US
- Additional Links
- Physical health
- Mental health
- Post-traumatic stress
- Positive affect
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Psychology, University of Denver, 2155 S. Race St., Denver, CO, 80208, USA
- 2. Department of Psychology, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY, USA
- 3. Departments of Psychology and Social Behavior and Medicine, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
- 4. Program in Nursing Science, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA