Impact of Spiritual and Religious Coping on PTSD

  • Courtney L. SlaterEmail author
  • Jessica Bordenave
  • Bret A. Boyer
Reference work entry


Religion and spirituality can offer a powerful narrative and transcendent meaning in the face of trauma. When an individual uses religious beliefs or practices as a way of adapting to physical, psychological, and social challenges, this is termed religious or spiritual coping. Research on religious and spiritual coping suggests that purpose and meaning in life are associated with lower levels of PTSD symptoms and higher levels of positive emotions, but when an individual’s belief system is unable to make sense of the trauma or assist the individual in finding an integrated narrative, then the trauma can trigger a newfound questions about the existence of God and meaning in life. Spiritual struggle can result in greater levels of PTSD symptoms and complications on the path to recovery. This chapter will describe what religious and spiritual coping is, how it is associated with PTSD, and how clinicians can ethically and effectively integrate religious and spiritual dimensions into clinical work.


Religious coping Spirituality Post-traumatic stress disorder Trauma Spiritual struggle 

List of Abbreviations


Mantram repetition program


Psychoeducation and parental treatment, relaxation, affective expression and modulation, cognitive coping skills, trauma narrative and cognitive processing of the trauma, in vivo desensitization to trauma reminders, conjoint parent–child sessions, and enhancing safety and future development


Post-traumatic stress disorder


Spiritual-hypnosis assisted therapy


Spirituality and trauma


Trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Courtney L. Slater
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jessica Bordenave
    • 1
  • Bret A. Boyer
    • 2
  1. 1.Widener University, Institute for Graduate Clinical PsychologyChesterUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology, Widener UniversityChesterUSA

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