Religiosity Mediates the Relationship Between Sexual Trauma and Anxiety

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Women who have experienced sexual trauma may have an increased risk of psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and increased alcohol use (e.g., Resnick, Acierno, & Kilpatrick, 1997). Religiosity has been shown to be a possible mechanism of coping with traumatic life events (Ano & Vasconcelles, 2005; Chang et al., 2001). The current study hypothesized that sexual trauma would predict higher levels of anxiety, depression, and alcohol use, and religiosity would mediate this relationship. An international sample of 736 women were recruited via social media. The overall model was significant R2= .01, (F(1, 734) = 4.06, p < .044); regression analyses in SPSS using PROCESS revealed that sexual trauma was a significant predictor of both anxiety (b = 2.62, SE =.46, p < .001), and religiosity (b = -.71, SE =.35 , p < .044), and religiosity also predicted lower levels of anxiety (b = -.10, SE = .05, p < .037). Religiosity was found to significantly mediate the relationship between sexual trauma and anxiety, b = .071, SE = .05, 95% CI [-.002, .182], but not between depression or alcohol use. Findings confirm the relationship between sexual trauma and anxiety and further identify religiosity as an important mediator of this relationship. Future interventions should consider implementing religiosity as a way to buffer the relationship between trauma and anxiety.


Boston, MA

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