Religious coping is one of the research areas within psychology of religion that is also reflected in general psychology. For instance, in the recently published handbook on ‘stress, health and coping’ edited by Folkman in 2011, room has been made for religious coping. This is the result of Kenneth Pargament’s efforts in particular. For this recognition of religious coping to take place in other than Anglo-Saxon countries also, religious coping research will have to accustom to other cultural conditions. In the Netherlands, secularization, the ‘new spirituality’, and the multicultural society will have to be taken into account. The latter aspect implies, on the one hand, that new measuring instruments have to be developed, but, on the other hand, that Pargament’s measuring instruments continue to be valid for certain groups within Dutch society (e.g. for traditionally committed Christians).
Furthermore, religious coping research would gain in relevance if the effects of positive and negative coping could be made more transparent from a theoretical point of view. Attribution theory and attachment theory appear to be fruitful theories for this.
There are also implications for spiritual care. The authors start by again emphasizing their basic assumption: the necessity of attention to religious coping in mental healthcare. People keep on knockin’ on heaven’s door. Although the role of institutionalized religion is declining in Western society, religion remains a substantive factor in human life, especially in times of trouble. For healthcare insurers, contributing to the improvement of clients’ (religious) coping is an important legitimation for funding hospital and community spiritual care . Furthermore, insights gained from religious coping research will have to be embedded in healthcare chaplains’ training. It is, for instance, important to know that ‘spiritual distress’ can have a considerably negative impact on clients’ well-being. It is also useful to know that not only the affective bond with God, but also more popular ritual devotions, are an important component of clients’ coping repertoires. In this respect, establishing an ‘expertise center for religious coping’ might be beneficial.
With this volume of collected papers on Religion and Coping, the authors continue and deepen their work on mental health and the religious dimension in coping. They address a pivotal topic not only for the psychology of religion but also for psychology in general and clinical psychology in particular.
The range of the topics is broad: it includes methodological questions, the development and testing of new instruments (the so-called Receptivity Scale and the Mature Religiosity Scale), the importance of ritual and prayer, personality and narcissism and the implications for practitioners. The variety of subjects is also impressive. The authors apply and test their theories within a forensic psychiatric hospital, with cancer patients, with students, with Christian parishioners and with outpatients and inpatients of different institutions.
Unlike other researchers in the field of religion and coping the authors of this book consider two important aspects of the field. Firstly, they acknowledge that religion is not always and automatically good but can be maladaptive regarding mental health and well-being. Secondly, the authors adapt the theory of religious coping to an increasingly secular society in Western Europe. Therefore they expand the concept to a perspective of spiritual coping and in this way address the current changes in worldview construction in modern societies.
Putting the pieces together: this series of papers is an excellent book for diving into current perspectives, problems, results and implications of the field of ‘Religion and Coping’. Professionals in the medical domain, pastoral counselors and researchers in the field will profit alike.
1. Bridges over troubled water. Coping, religious coping and the Receptive Coping Scale.
2. Unchain my heart. Religious coping and well-being in a forensic psychiatric institution.
3. Whenever God shines his light on me. Religious coping in clinical healthcare institutions.
4. Religious and receptive coping. Importance for the well-being of Christian outpatients and parishioners.
5. Religious and non-religious coping among cancer patients.
6. Ritual counseling and religious coping processes in cancer patients.
7. Praying and coping.The relation between varieties of praying and religious coping styles.
8. I just believe in me. Narcissism and religious coping
9. Still knockin’ on heaven’s door. Narcissism and prayer
10. Mature Religiosity Scale. Validity of a new questionnaire
About the authors