Project Title

Negative Religious Coping and Alcohol Misuse: Forgiveness and Humility among Religious Believers and Non-Believers

Authors' Affiliations

Benjamin B. Hall, Department of Psychology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN. Jon R. Webb, Community, Family, and Addiction Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX. Loren Toussaint, Department of Psychology, Luther College, Decorah, IA. Jameson K. Hirsch, Department of Psychology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN

Location

Ballroom

Start Date

4-12-2019 9:00 AM

End Date

4-12-2019 2:30 PM

Poster Number

51

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Psychology

Name of Project's Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Jameson Hirsch

Type

Poster: Competitive

Classification of First Author

Graduate Student-Doctoral

Project's Category

Psychology

Abstract Text

Introduction: Alcohol misuse is a major public health concern, resulting in an estimated 88,000 deaths annually in the U.S. Negative religious coping (NRC) is a known risk factor for alcohol misuse; yet, research has not examined potential protective factors that might weaken this linkage. Forgiveness and humility are commonly-studied spiritual factors linked to positive health-related outcomes, but they have not been explored in the context of NRC and alcohol misuse. In our study, we assessed the potential protective role of forgiveness and humility in the association between NRC and alcohol misuse, among religious believers and non-believers. Methods: Participants in this IRB-approved study were recruited online via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and self-identified as religious believers (n = 146) or non-believers (n = 120). After providing informed consent, participants completed self-report surveys including the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), Brief RCOPE, Heartland Forgiveness Scale (Forgiveness of Others), and a single item measure of humility. Results: At the bivariate level, for religious non-believers, humility was positively associated with forgiveness (r = .27, p < .01) and negatively associated with NRC (r = -.20, p < .05) and AUDIT scores (r = -.17, p < .05). Forgiveness was negatively associated with NRC (r = -.18, p < .05) and NRC was positively associated with AUDIT scores (r = .28, p < .01). For religious believers, humility was positively associated with forgiveness (r = .25, p < .01) and negatively associated with AUDIT scores (r = -.17, p < .05). Forgiveness was negatively associated with NRC (r = -.29, p < .01) and AUDIT scores (r = -.20, p < .01) and NRC was positively associated with AUDIT scores (r = -.22, p < .01). At the multivariate level, for religious believers, forgiveness moderated the relation between NRC and AUDIT scores (R2Δ = .04, p = .01), but humility did not. For religious non-believers, humility moderated the relation between NRC and AUDIT scores (R2Δ = .07, p < .01, but forgiveness did not. Conclusions: Negative religious coping is a significant risk factor for alcohol misuse among religious believers and non-believers. In the context of NRC, positive psychological constructs may provide a novel approach to reducing alcohol misuse. Forgiveness of others was protective against alcohol use problems for religious believers engaging in NRC, whereas humility was protective for religious non-believers. As a tenet of most religions, forgiveness of others may be particularly significant for religious believers in resolving NRC, of which a feature is feeling abandoned by other religious believers. For non-believers, NRC may manifest as questioning the existence of God, and humility may promote a sense of comfort in their uncertainty. Positive psychology interventions such as forgiveness therapy or the PROVE humility intervention may be effective interventions for alcohol misuse, in the context of NRC.

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Apr 12th, 9:00 AM Apr 12th, 2:30 PM

Negative Religious Coping and Alcohol Misuse: Forgiveness and Humility among Religious Believers and Non-Believers

Ballroom

Introduction: Alcohol misuse is a major public health concern, resulting in an estimated 88,000 deaths annually in the U.S. Negative religious coping (NRC) is a known risk factor for alcohol misuse; yet, research has not examined potential protective factors that might weaken this linkage. Forgiveness and humility are commonly-studied spiritual factors linked to positive health-related outcomes, but they have not been explored in the context of NRC and alcohol misuse. In our study, we assessed the potential protective role of forgiveness and humility in the association between NRC and alcohol misuse, among religious believers and non-believers. Methods: Participants in this IRB-approved study were recruited online via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and self-identified as religious believers (n = 146) or non-believers (n = 120). After providing informed consent, participants completed self-report surveys including the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), Brief RCOPE, Heartland Forgiveness Scale (Forgiveness of Others), and a single item measure of humility. Results: At the bivariate level, for religious non-believers, humility was positively associated with forgiveness (r = .27, p < .01) and negatively associated with NRC (r = -.20, p < .05) and AUDIT scores (r = -.17, p < .05). Forgiveness was negatively associated with NRC (r = -.18, p < .05) and NRC was positively associated with AUDIT scores (r = .28, p < .01). For religious believers, humility was positively associated with forgiveness (r = .25, p < .01) and negatively associated with AUDIT scores (r = -.17, p < .05). Forgiveness was negatively associated with NRC (r = -.29, p < .01) and AUDIT scores (r = -.20, p < .01) and NRC was positively associated with AUDIT scores (r = -.22, p < .01). At the multivariate level, for religious believers, forgiveness moderated the relation between NRC and AUDIT scores (R2Δ = .04, p = .01), but humility did not. For religious non-believers, humility moderated the relation between NRC and AUDIT scores (R2Δ = .07, p < .01, but forgiveness did not. Conclusions: Negative religious coping is a significant risk factor for alcohol misuse among religious believers and non-believers. In the context of NRC, positive psychological constructs may provide a novel approach to reducing alcohol misuse. Forgiveness of others was protective against alcohol use problems for religious believers engaging in NRC, whereas humility was protective for religious non-believers. As a tenet of most religions, forgiveness of others may be particularly significant for religious believers in resolving NRC, of which a feature is feeling abandoned by other religious believers. For non-believers, NRC may manifest as questioning the existence of God, and humility may promote a sense of comfort in their uncertainty. Positive psychology interventions such as forgiveness therapy or the PROVE humility intervention may be effective interventions for alcohol misuse, in the context of NRC.