Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 53, Issue 5, pp 1329–1341 | Cite as

Religiousness and Religious Coping in a Secular Society: The Gender Perspective

  • Dorte Hvidtjørn
  • Jacob Hjelmborg
  • Axel Skytthe
  • Kaare Christensen
  • Niels Christian Hvidt
Original Paper


Women are found to be more religious than men and more likely to use religious coping. Only few studies have explored religious gender differences in more secular societies. This population-based study comprised 3,000 Danish men and women (response rate 45 %) between 20 and 40 years of age. Information about demographics, religiousness and religious coping was obtained through a web-based questionnaire. We organized religiousness in the three dimensions: Cognition, Practice and Importance, and we assessed religious coping using the brief RCOPE questionnaire. We found substantial gender differences in both religiousness and religious coping. Nearly, 60 % of the women believed in some sort of spirit or in God compared to 40 % of the men. Generally, both men and women scored low on the RCOPE scale. However, for respondents reporting high levels of religiousness, the proportion of men who scored high in the RCOPE exceeded the proportion of women in using positive and especially negative coping strategies. Also, in a secular society, women are found to be more religious than men, but in a subset of the most religious respondents, men were more inclined to use religious coping. Further studies on religious coping in secular societies are required.


Religion Religious coping Gender Secular society 



This study was supported by US National Institute on Aging grant NIA-PO1-AGO31719, the Health Insurance Foundation and the Aase and Ejnar Danielsen Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorte Hvidtjørn
    • 1
  • Jacob Hjelmborg
    • 2
  • Axel Skytthe
    • 1
  • Kaare Christensen
    • 1
  • Niels Christian Hvidt
    • 3
  1. 1.Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Public HealthUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Biostatistics, Institute of Public HealthUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark
  3. 3.Research Unit of Health, Man and Society, Institute of Public HealthUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark

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