Spiritual coping, distress, and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder following traumatic injury

Stephanie C Zanowski, Marquette University


Little empirical research has focused specifically on the relationship between spiritual coping and the severity of posttraumatic stress symptoms following a mutilating bodily injury. Psychological adjustment following this type of traumatic injury proves challenging, often leading to the development of clinical disorders (e.g., PTSD). The primary objective of the present investigation was to determine whether religious/spiritual coping is related to the patient's level of psychological distress, severity of posttraumatic stress symptoms, and experience of psychosocial impairment following a traumatic injury. Given that many other factors contribute to post-trauma psychological adjustment, this study attempted to control for other coping styles, injury factors, and perceived social support. Participants (N = 128) were recruited from the patient population of the Hand Center of Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Participants completed two coping measures (RCOPE and Coping Response Inventory), a measure of perceived social support (MOS Social Support Survey), a measure of posttraumatic stress symptoms and post-trauma psychosocial functioning (Detailed Assessment of Posttraumatic Stress), and a measure of post-trauma psychological distress (General Health Questionnaire). Correlational analyses were performed to examine the relationships among all study variables, followed by a series of hierarchical multiple regression analyses. Results revealed that participants endorsed positive religious coping at a higher level than negative religious coping. Negative religious coping revealed moderate to strong significant correlations with all three dependent variables. A small significant correlation existed between positive religious coping and posttraumatic stress symptoms. Regression analyses revealed that positive religious coping contributed significantly to the variance in posttraumatic symptoms and negative religious coping made a significant contribution to the variance in psychological distress, above and beyond the effects of other coping methods, perceived severity of injury, and perceived social support. These findings provide additional evidence to the growing body of empirical research that reflects the potential impact of spiritual coping methods on post-trauma recovery.

Recommended Citation

Stephanie C Zanowski, "Spiritual coping, distress, and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder following traumatic injury" (January 1, 2009). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. Paper AAI3357977.