Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 56, Issue 5, pp 1644–1654 | Cite as

Experiencing Positive Religious Coping in the Process of Divorce: A Qualitative Study

  • Barbara SimoničEmail author
  • Nataša Rijavec Klobučar
Original Paper


Divorce is one of the more stressful and psychologically challenging experiences for spouses and whole families. After divorce, a new era begins, when it is necessary to re-adapt to life and during which hard feelings also emerge. During the process of divorce, successful emotional adaptation to the new situation is of great significance. Religion or spirituality can be a powerful source of help for an individual coping with stressful situations brought up by divorce. This study aimed to explore if and how divorcees experience the burden of divorce and along with it the relationship with God (within Catholic tradition) as a source of positive support in coping with divorce. We conducted open semi-structured interviews with 11 participants. With empirical phenomenological analysis, we built a general description of the investigated experience which entails three areas of experience: experiencing the burden of divorce, which is related to experiencing the relationship with God and the ways of spiritual coping with divorce, and experiencing the effects of religious coping with divorce. The result of this research can be used in evidence-based psychosocial (e.g. psychotherapy, counselling) and spiritual help for individuals in comprehensive care after divorce.


Divorce Religious coping Emotional processing Phenomenology Family Relationships 



The results of this work were obtained within the project No. J5-6825 financed by Slovenian Research Agency from the State budget.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Ethical Standard

All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department for Marital and Family Therapy and Psychology and Sociology of Religion, Faculty of TheologyUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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