Relationships Between Childhood Interpersonal Trauma, Religious Coping, Post-traumatic Stress Symptoms, and Resilience


Positive and negative religious coping strategies have been linked to symptom trajectories following adult interpersonal trauma. However, the interactions between childhood interpersonal trauma, religious coping, and psychological outcomes are less clear. This study examined whether aspects of religious coping moderated the associations between cumulative childhood interpersonal trauma and mental health outcomes, such as post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) and resilience. Participants included 525 undergraduates from two universities (Mage = 20.04, SD = 1.71; range = 18–24; 57.7% White; 82.1% female). In both the positive and negative religious coping models, cumulative childhood interpersonal trauma was related to PTSS (b = 6.66; b = 6.10, respectively). While positive religious coping was not associated with PTSS (b =.01), it was linked to resilience (b =.69). Negative religious coping was significantly related to PTSS (b =.75) but not resilience (b = –.20). No significant interactions were identified between aspects of religious coping and cumulative childhood interpersonal trauma. While religious coping was directly related to both positive and negative mental health outcomes, it may not be associated with the relationships between childhood interpersonal trauma exposure and clinical outcomes. Such findings offer valuable information on malleable factors that may contribute to adaptive and maladaptive functioning following childhood adversity.

Publication Title

Journal of Interpersonal Violence