Meaning violations, religious/spiritual struggles, and meaning in life in the face of stressful life events
Number of pages
SourceInternational Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 30, 1, (2020), pp. 1-17
Article / Letter to editor
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International Journal for the Psychology of Religion
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being; Experimental Psychopathology and Treatment
Both meaning violations (i.e., discrepancies between individuals' global meaning system and appraised meaning of events) and religious/spiritual (r/s) struggles (i.e., spiritual tensions often arising due to stressful life events) have been related to post-traumatic stress (PTS) symptoms. While both constructs represent strain on an individual’s meaning system, their interrelations and their independent relationships with PTS symptoms are not well understood. The aim of the current study was to explore those relations and investigate whether a sense of meaning in life (MIL) attenuates the hypothesized links. One-hundred-eighty-nine college students (78.3% female) who could identify a stressful life event that they had not yet resolved completed self-report measures of PTS symptoms, r/s struggles, meaning violations, and MIL. First, bivariate Pearson correlations indicated that all facets of r/s struggle and goal- (but not belief) violations, were significantly and positively related to PTS symptoms. Further, the association between goal and belief violations and r/s struggles differed based on the specific facet of struggle measured. Second, multiple regression analysis showed that both r/s struggles and goal violations were independently associated with PTS symptoms. Third, moderation analyses demonstrated that a sense of MIL attenuated the association between goal violations and symptomatology but only buffered the correlates of low and medium levels of r/s struggle. Promoting people’s general sense of MIL thus seems to have the potential to buffer the negative sequelae of both goal violations and certain levels of r/s struggle.
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