The relationship of perceived stress, general coping, and religious coping to psychological distress and adjustment in urban high-school students

Cydney Jane Van Dyke, Fordham University

Abstract

Historically, psychology has neglected religious coping in discussions of youth mental health. The purpose of this study was to address this gap in the literature by exploring the interrelationships among perceived stress, general coping, religious coping, and mental health during adolescence. Furthermore, the potential role of coping in mediating and/or moderating the relationship between perceived stress and mental health was explored, and the incremental validity of religious coping in predicting mental health above and beyond the contributions of general coping was investigated. The study's variables were assessed using validated and reliable self-report measures, namely, the Perceived Stress Scale (Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983), the Brief RCOPE (Pargament, Smith, Koenig, & Perez, 1998), the Coping Scale for Children and Youth (Brodzinsky et al., 1992), the Brief Symptom Inventory—18 (Derogatis, 2000), the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule—Child Version (Laurent et al., 1999), and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (Pavot & Diener, 1993). ^ Participants included 587 high-school students attending New York City Catholic day schools. One hundred ninety-four (33.0%) were female, and 393 (67.0%) were male. Students' ages ranged from 14 to 18, with a mean of 15.90 (SD = 1.01). Most students identified as White (42.8%), Latino (22.6%), or African American (17.7%). Most students (77.8%) also identified as Catholic and reported attending religious services at least monthly (63.0%). Finally, most students (50.8%) identified their parents' social position index as medium businesspersons, minor professionals, or technical workers.^ Correlational and regression analyses and structural equation modeling were used to describe relationships among variables. Perceived stress, negative religious coping, and avoidant coping were significantly associated with indicators of psychological distress. Conversely, positive religious coping and active/engagement coping were significantly associated with indicators of psychological adjustment. Additionally, adaptive coping was found to mediate the relationship between perceived stress and psychological adjustment, and negative religious coping was found to moderate the relationship between perceived stress and positive affect. Finally, partial correlational analyses revealed significant relationships between religious coping and mental health, even after controlling for the contributions of general coping. Given the significant gaps in the literature on adolescent religious coping, this study offers important implications for research and clinical practice. ^

Subject Area

Religion, General|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Cydney Jane Van Dyke, "The relationship of perceived stress, general coping, and religious coping to psychological distress and adjustment in urban high-school students" (January 1, 2010). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3438467.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3438467

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