Social support as a mediator in the relationship between religious comforts and strains and trauma symptoms

Psychology of Religion and Spirituality - 2014-08-01Harris JI, Erbes CR, Winskowski AM, Engdahl B, Nguyen XV10.1037/a0036421
Recent research shows that religious and spiritual variables are related to adjustment among those who have experienced trauma (Harris et al., 2008). It is also known that social support influences posttraumatic adjustment (Frazier et al., 2011). Critics have argued that religious and spiritual variables primarily serve as a proxy for social support because individuals in spiritual communities access higher levels of social support than those with no such community (Bradley, Schwartz, & Kaslow, 2005). We sought to explore the interrelationships among these 3 domains by studying church members with histories of trauma exposure. We found that social support and religious comforts and strains are distinguishable. Social support, religious comfort, and religious fear and guilt make independent contributions to posttraumatic adjustment, whereas social support partially mediates the relationship between alienation from one's higher power, religious rifts, and trauma symptoms.