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Exploring the Association between Self-Discrepancy in Spiritual Functioning and Positive and Negative Religious Coping for Students in a Christian College Setting.

The importance of spirituality for individuals in dealing with stressful life events has gained increased attention in recent years (e.g., Ano & Vasconcelles, 2005; Pargament, Smith, Koenig, & Perez, 1998; Ross, Handal, Clark, & Vander Wal, 2009). Engaging in positive spiritual coping strategies seems to be an asset in times of stress and related to emotional well-being. However, many individuals seem unable to engage in positive spiritual coping in times of stress and experience spiritual struggle which seems to undermine emotional well-being (Ano & Vasconcelles, 2005 for a meta-analytic review).

While several studies assess the effect of spiritual coping on well-being, only a small number have focused on factors associated with the development of spiritual coping. For example, Bryant and Astin (2008) state that the exposure to various and often contradicting worldviews and the developing independence during the college years may lead to spiritual struggle in college students. Ano and Pargament (2013) further describe how college students in particular seem prone to negative religious coping strategies (spiritual struggle) based on the numerous stressors they experience. The current study adds to this literature by exploring the concept of self-discrepancy in spiritual functioning as related to positive and negative spiritual coping specifically with regard to committed Christian young adults who have chosen to study at a Christian college.

Religious Coping and Adjustment

Positive religious coping generally reflects a sense of spiritual connectedness with others, benevolent religious reappraisal, and a secure relationship with a transcendent force. In contrast, negative spiritual coping is indicated by internal tensions with oneself and the divine as well as a sense of being abandoned by God in times of stress (Pargament, Feuille, & Burdzy, 2011). Ano and Vasconcelles (2005) report in their meta-analytic review that overall, positive religious coping is associated with better emotional well-being, such as higher rates of reported happiness and hope, whereas negative religious coping is associated with higher levels of depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and perceived stress. College students in particular seem to be prone to the experience of spiritual struggle (Bryant & Astin, 2008), which has been linked to higher levels of depression, homesickness, suicidality, loss of relationships, and anxiety (Bryant & Astin, 2008; Johnson & Hayes, 2003). However, Stoltzfus and Farkas (2012) found that female college students who exhibited positive religious coping were less likely to turn to alcohol as a means of dealing with daily hassles and stress. Further, Lee (2007) found that positive religious coping reduced the impact of stress on depression for college students. Ellison, Roalson, Guillory, Flannelly, and Marcum (2010) explored this link for clergy and found that a sense of struggle in the relationship with God (sense of divine abandonment, anger towards God, or unresolved doubt) was similarly associated with greater psychological distress, whereas greater religious resources were linked to improved well-being.

Spiritual Domain: Self-discrepancy in Spirituality and Religious Coping

Higgins' (1987) self-discrepancy theory proposes that the concept of the self is best understood by differentiating between three domains (the actual, ideal, and ought self) and that a sense of discrepancy between the different aspects of the self can be associated with emotional struggle (Higgins, 1987; Higgins, Klein, & Strauman, 1985; Stevens, Bardeen, Pittman, & Lovejoy, 2015). The actual self consists of the attributes an individual believes he or she actually has. The ideal self exemplifies attributes one personally desires to have while the ought self indicates attributes one feels should be possessed because of a sense of duty or obligation. Initially, Higgins and colleagues suggested that actual: ought discrepancies might be more likely to elicit anxious emotions (falling short in living up to obligations) while actual: ideal discrepancies would more likely lead to feelings of depression (Higgins, 1987; Higgins, Klein, & Strauman, 1985; Liss, Schiffrin, & Rizzo, 2013; Stevens et al., 2015). Other studies, however, were not able to support this distinction but found that self-discrepancy was related to lower levels of emotional well-being (Key, Manella, Thomas, & Gilroy, 2000; Stanley & Burrow, 2015).

Self-discrepancy has, for the most part, been related to emotional functioning. Only a few studies have begun to explore associations to spiritual well-being or purpose in life. Lilliston and Klein (1991), for example, found that individuals with an actual: ought discrepancy were more likely to engage in affective and behavioral religious responses in times of crisis. Stanley and Burrow (2015) found links between a higher sense of discrepancy in domains of body image and personality characteristics and a diminished sense of purpose in life. A link between self-discrepancy and life-satisfaction was found by Busseri and Merrick (2016) in a longitudinal study design.

A sense of discrepancy between actual, ideal, and ought selves for aspects of spirituality has rarely been considered in the literature. Ferguson, Hafen, and Laursen (2010) considered general spiritual discrepancy in relation to depression and found only the ideal score to be associated with depression. However, specific aspects of spirituality were not assessed in this study. Similarly, Klausli and Caudill (2018) found that a general perception of falling short in spiritual devotion was associated with higher depression rates for students in a Christian college setting. It seems that particularly individuals for whom faith plays an important role might internalize messages that encourage greater spiritual devotion. Should a sense of discrepancy in this devotion develop, the individual might experience feelings of distance from God which could interfere with the ability to turn to God for support in times of stress.

Correlates of Spiritual Coping

While the link between spiritual coping and well-being is fairly well-established, relatively few studies have focused on factors associated with the development of spiritual coping. Knabb and Grigorian-Routon (2014) found that spiritual maturity predicted higher levels of positive religious coping while only modestly predicting less negative religious coping. Further, Johnson and Hayes (2003) found that among college students, "distress about religious or spiritual concerns was predicted by confusion about values, problematic relationships with peers, sexual concerns, and thoughts of being punished for one's sins" (p. 409). Neither study, however, has proposed a comprehensive theoretical framework for the development of spiritual coping.

A more in-depth theory explaining the development of spiritual struggles (negative religious coping) has been developed over the last several years (e.g., Ano & Pargament, 2013). The theory points to the individual's orienting system as a source on which a person draws in times of stress. The orienting system has been defined as the individual's "general way of viewing and dealing with the world" (Pargament, 1997, p. 99) and contains various domains: social, behavioral, cognitive, religious, situational, and personal (Pargament, 1997; Trevino, Pargament, Krause, Ironson, & Hill, 2017). According to this theory, if an individual's personality and general disposition toward their environment are weak or negative, he/she is also likely to evaluate social support in a negative light and perceive a situation as more stressful. Such an individual might be more prone to engage in negative religious coping strategies. Various aspects of the orienting system have been found to be related to spiritual struggle. Ano and Pargament (2013), for example, found that spiritual struggle was predicted by neuroticism, negative appraisal of stressful situations, and a measure of insecure attachment to God, pointing to the religious, personal and cognitive domains of the orienting system. In another study, emotional, social, behavioral, and spiritual aspects of the orienting system moderated the association between stressful life events and spiritual struggle (Trevino et al., 2017). In a sample of veterans, a positive religious orienting system benefited individuals in dealing with spiritual struggle more positively (Wilt, Pargament, Exline, Barrera, & Teng, 2018). Following this theoretical framework, variables from each of the social, personal, and situational domains were included in the current study.

Personal domain: attachment. Attachment theory proposes that early interactions with the caregiver (attachment person) lay the foundation for the individual's view of themselves and others that persists into adulthood and has important consequences for adult personality, psychological functioning, and interpersonal relating (Ainsworth, 1985; Bohlin, Hagekull, & Rydell, 2000; Bowlby, 1969; Cassidy & Shaver, 1999; Taliaferro, Rienzo, Pigg, Miller, & Dodd, 2009). Granqvist (2005) explored the link between attachment and religiousness and found support for a compensation hypothesis in which "religion in the case of insecure attachment stems from controlled/effortful attempts at regulating distress, where God (and other religious entities) may be used as 'surrogate' attachment figures" (p.176). Individuals with a secure attachment history have been found to view God as more loving and caring rather than distant and controlling and have a closer link with their parents' religiosity (Granqvist, Broberg, & Hagekull, 2014; Granqvist & Hagekull, 2003; Kirkpratick, 1998). Attachment is included in the current study to represent the personal domain of the individual's orienting system in association with religious coping.

Social domain: social support. Social support has been found to be an essential predictor of emotional well-being in a large body of literature (e.g., Schwarzbach, Luppa, Forstmeier, Konig, & Riedel-Heller, 2014; Stecker, 2004). Graduate and professional students reported higher levels of depression when they perceived lower levels of social support (Stecker, 2004). Perceptions of social support in the church have been associated with positive religious coping (Krause, Ellison, Shaw, Marcum, & Boardman, 2001). On the other hand, Ano and Pargament (2013) did not find that perceptions of social support and loneliness significantly predicted spiritual struggle in college students. Perceptions of social support are included in the current study to represent the social domain of the orienting system.

Situational domain: stress. College students tend to experience many stressors related to exams, time demands, difficult financial situations, expectations from parents, and change in life-style (Robotham & Julian, 2006). Stress has been associated with depression and other indicators of emotional struggle and is also one of the main factors that interferes with academic performance (American College Health Association [ACHA], 2009). Acute life stress as well as the negative evaluation of stressful events have been proposed to lead to spiritual struggle (Ano & Pargament, 2013) and should be controlled for in a study on factors associated with spiritual coping. It was included in the current study to represent the situational domain.

Present Study

The goal of the present study is to explore the role of actual: ideal and actual: ought discrepancies in spiritual functioning in their association with positive and negative spiritual coping for students in an explicit Christian college setting. Variables from social, situational, and personal domains of the individual's orienting system were controlled for, namely insecure-avoidant and insecure-anxious attachment as personal factors, perceptions of stress from the situational domain, and perceived social support for the social domain. Three main questions were the focus of this study: 1) Are perceptions of discrepancy in aspects of spirituality associated with positive and negative religious coping? 2) What differences and similarities can be found between actual: ideal discrepancies and actual: ought discrepancies and their association to religious coping? 3) Do perceptions of discrepancy in spirituality make unique contributions in explaining positive and negative spiritual coping when factors from other domains of the individual's orienting system are controlled for?


Participants and Procedures

Students at a modest-sized, Christian university in the Southern United States participated in the current study (N=190). The student body of this institution represents numerous denominations as well as non-denominational churches within the evangelical Protestant tradition. Expectations for Christian attitudes (e.g., personal believe in Christ as Savior) and behaviors (e.g., church attendance and involvement) are clearly communicated by the institution and agreed upon by the students upon enrollment. After receiving approval from the Internal Review Board of the institution, research assistants handed out paper and pencil surveys and informed consent forms to students at a large chapel gathering for undergraduate students. On two evenings research assistants visited evening classes to offer participation to graduate students. Participation was completely voluntary and anonymous for all participants. Surveys of all students who were enrolled at the time of the study and chose to participate were included. Information on exact attendance at the chapel gathering or in the classes was not collected so the exact return rate of surveys is not known. Overall, the majority of participants were female (60.5%), undergraduate students (78.9%), and ranged in age from 18 to 63 years with an average age of 24.3 years. The sample was 80% European American, 6.3% Black, 6.3% Hispanic, and 5.4% Asian or other. Two individuals did not answer the question about race/ethnicity.


Spiritual discrepancy. Generally following the procedure outlined by Stanley and Burrow (2015), who assessed self-discrepancy related to personality traits, participants in the current study rated themselves on a list of spiritual indicators with respect to how they think they actually are, how they think they ought to be, and how they would ideally like to be. Indicators included statements such as "great in evangelism," "faithful in quiet time," "known by love for others," "active in ministry," "loving God," and "display fruit of the spirit." Answers were given on a 4-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (not true at all) to 4 (very true). For each spiritual quality an actual: ought discrepancy score and an actual: ideal discrepancy score was computed by subtracting the actual score from the ought or ideal score. Skewness of all actual: ideal and actual: ought variables was smaller than one and thus within the acceptable range according to George and Mallery (2010).

Religious coping. In order to assess positive and negative religious coping styles, the brief 14-item version of the RCOPE (Pargament et al., 1998) was used. Participants answered questions about how they deal with stressful life events (e.g., "I sought God's love and care" or "I questioned God's love for me") on a 4-point Likert scale, from 1 (not at all) to 4 (a great deal). The questions yielded two subscales: one pointing to positive religious coping and one to negative religious coping. Pargament et al. (2011) have demonstrated empirical support for construct, predictive, and incremental validity for the positive religious coping and the negative religious coping subscales. Various studies have demonstrated internal consistency for both subscales and the current study found acceptable to good internal consistency with a Cronbach alpha of .70 for positive religious coping and .78 for negative religious coping.

Attachment orientation. Attachment orientation was measured with the Experiences in Close Relationships (ECR-RS; Fraley, Heffernan, Vicary, & Brumbaugh, 2011), an instrument designed to assess attachment pattern in a variety of close relationships. For this current study, the relationship to the mother or a mother-like figure was the basis of the answers to the questions. The survey consists of nine questions assessing close relationships. The ECR-RS has been shown to have good test-retest reliability (.80 in the familial domain), and the attachment orientations have been related to various relationship outcomes (Fraley et al., 2011). Both the attachment anxiety subscale and the ambivalent attachment subscale showed good internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha .86 and .92 respectively).

Social support. Social support was assessed using the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (Zimet, Dahlem, Zimet, & Farley, 1988). The instrument consists of 12 items and is rated on a 7-point Likert scale from "very strongly disagree" to "very strongly agree." Questions ask about perceptions of receiving social support from family, friends, and significant others. Across many studies, the measure has demonstrated strong reliability and validity (Cronbach's alpha .89 for the current study).

Perceived stress. Perceived stress was measured via the Cohen Perceived Stress Inventory (PSS; Cohen, Kamarack, & Mermelstein, 1983). The PSS is a widely used measure with 10 items that ask about perceived stress during the last 30 days. It included questions like, "How often have you been upset because of something that happened unexpectedly?" and "How often have you found that you could not cope with all the things you had to do?" Answers are given on a 5-point Likert scale from "never" to "very often". Four items are positively worded and were reversed-scored before creating a total stress score. The PSS has been related to other indicators of stress in a longitudinal study (Cohen & Janicki-Deverts, 2012). Internal consistency of the total score was good in the current study (Cronbach's alpha .84).


IBM SPSS Statistical Software package was used to perform analyses in the current study. Missing data was less than 5% for all variables (0.5%-4.2%). Non-significant results of the Little's MCAR test indicated that data points were missing completely at random. Expectation Maximization procedures were used to impute the missing data points.

Self-Discrepancy and Spiritual Coping

Initial Pearson bivariate correlation analyses assessed the associations between actual: ought and actual: ideal discrepancy scores and positive and negative religious coping as shown in Table 1 together with means and standard deviations of discrepancy scores. A sense of discrepancy in areas of spirituality indicated by relating to others (e.g., compassion, social outreach, known by love for others, missions) was generally not associated with positive or negative spiritual coping. This was true for correlations between actual: ought and actual: ideal discrepancies and both religious coping variables. The one exception to this being an actual: ideal discrepancy (active in ministry) being negatively correlated to positive spiritual coping (p < .05). Feelings of discrepancy in areas of spirituality that generally focus on relating to God (loving God, showing the "fruits of the spirit", prayer, quiet time) were consistently, significantly associated with less positive spiritual coping and with higher levels of negative spiritual coping for actual: ought and actual: ideal discrepancies. Effect sizes for these associations were small to medium (r = .16 to r = .28).

Comparing Actual: ought and Actual: ideal Discrepancies

Paired t-test analyses were run in order to assess differences in actual: ought and actual: ideal discrepancy scores, showing that actual: ideal discrepancies were consistently higher than actual: ought discrepancies. Processes relating actual: ideal discrepancies to spiritual coping were very similar to those relating actual: ought discrepancies to spiritual coping. Firstly, actual: ought and actual: ideal discrepancy scores were consistently and significantly correlated with each other (r =.54 to r =.79, p < .001 for all inter-correlations). Furthermore, non-significant r to z transformations showed that correlations between actual: ideal discrepancies and religious coping and between actual: ought discrepancies and religious coping were not significantly different from each other.

Correlations between all predictor and outcome variables along with means and standard deviations are presented in Table 2. Based on the similarities in associations between actual: ought and actual: ideal discrepancies, general discrepancy composite scores were formed for the correlations between predictor and outcome variables and for the hierarchal regression analyses. One composite score focuses on spiritual discrepancies as seen in relating to God and the second composite score focuses on spiritual discrepancies as seen in relating to others. Composites included variables that were significantly associated with negative and positive religious coping and showed good internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha .75, .79, and .82, respectively). Skewness and kurtosis for all three composites was in the acceptable range (George & Mallery, 2010).

Variables for anxious attachment as well as perception of social support were moderately skewed and therefore a log transformation was applied as suggested by Tabachnick and Fidell (2007). Correlation results indicate that the variables from the three domains of the orienting system are generally associated with spiritual coping. Higher levels of perceived social support were associated with more positive and less negative spiritual coping (p <.01 for both correlations). People with an insecure-anxious attachment history reported significantly higher levels of negative spiritual coping (p <.01) while the association between anxious attachment and positive spiritual coping was only a trend (p <.1). An insecure-avoidant attachment history was not associated with spiritual coping. Individuals who perceived that they experienced higher levels of stress also reported engaging in more negative spiritual coping (p <.001) and less positive spiritual coping strategies (p <.01).

Hierarchical Regression Analyses

In order to test whether perceptions of spiritual discrepancy would make a unique contribution to the prediction of negative as well as positive religious coping, controlling for variables from the three other domains of the individual's orienting system, hierarchical regressions were performed (Table 3). Collinearity statistics were tested and were within the accepted limits (VIF < 1.5 for all variables) showing that the assumption of multicollinearity was met (Coakes, 2005). Furthermore, the Durbin-Watson statistic (d= 2.16 and d=1.84) was in the acceptable range, showing that the assumption for no first order linear auto-correlations was met.

Significant correlates of spiritual coping from the personal, situational, and social domains of the individual's orienting system were entered in step 1. The respective discrepancy composite variable (relating to God) was entered in step 2. Perceptions of discrepancy in relating to God made unique significant contributions to explaining positive spiritual coping (change in [R.sup.2] = .08; p = .000) and negative spiritual coping (change in R2 = .035; p = .003) after controlling for the other covariates entered in step 1. In terms of the variables from the other domains of the orienting system, perceived stress (situational domain) continued to make unique contributions of positive and negative spiritual coping (p = .043 and p =.000, respectively). Perceived support remained uniquely associated with positive spiritual coping (p = .033). Anxious attachment did not continue to make a significant contribution to explaining spiritual coping when other variables were included in the model.


The goal of the current study was to explore the concepts of actual: ideal and actual: ought discrepancies in spirituality in their relation to religious coping, specifically for committed young Christians in a distinctly Christian culture setting. Results indicate that a sense of discrepancy in spirituality makes unique contributions in explaining both positive and negative religious coping, even controlling for variables from other domains of the individual's orienting system such as social support, attachment, and perceived stress.

These results add significantly to the understanding of discrepancy theory and spiritual coping in several ways. First, the current study gives insight into the differences and similarities between actual: ought and actual: ideal discrepancies related to spirituality. Results show that actual: ought discrepancy scores were consistently lower than actual: ideal discrepancies, indicating that students seem to internalize obligations related to their spiritual beliefs and behaviors and make them their personal ideal. In this population of committed young Christians, the sense of falling short of a personal spiritual ideal seems to be felt more acutely than a sense of obligation to display spiritual behaviors.

This study, however, did not find significant differences between processes relating actual: ideal and actual: ought discrepancies to religious coping. Initial research on self-discrepancy (Higgins, 1987) had suggested that ideal discrepancies might be related to different outcomes than ought discrepancies. However, this notion was not confirmed by all studies (e.g., Key et al., 2000). The current results seem to support Ozgul, Heubeck, Ward, and Wilkinson (2003), who suggest that individuals might not be able to differentiate clearly between ought and ideal discrepancies. It appears that for committed young Christians, such as those in the current study, actual: ought and actual: ideal discrepancies become indistinguishable from one another. Messages that emphasize obligation towards certain beliefs and behaviors might quickly become personal ideals in this kind of population.

Second, perceptions of discrepancy in several areas of spirituality were associated with religious coping; several others were not. Interestingly, falling short in areas of spirituality that focus on relating to others (e.g., loving others, being compassionate, social outreach, being active in ministry) seemed to be unrelated to peoples' religious coping strategies. However, areas of discrepancy in spirituality which focus on relating to God (e.g., loving God and prayer) were uniquely associated with both positive and negative religious coping. It appears that a sense of falling short of being devoted to and loving God might undermine one's ability to turn to God in times of stress and might instead foster religious doubt and fear. On the other hand, spirituality that is not characterized by self-evaluation in devotion seems better suited for intimacy with God in times of stress. Thus, having an approach to spirituality that does not focus on "how well" one is doing in loving God might very well indicate spiritual maturity.

Knabb and Grigoian-Routon (2014) found a link between faith maturity and religious coping in which their measure of faith maturity combined aspects of loving and believing in God as well as desiring to help others. Results of the current study do not seem to support these findings, as aspects of spirituality as seen in relating to others did not predict spiritual coping. One way to explain this difference might be the focus on discrepancy in the current study rather than a combined assessment of the actual and ideal self in the Knabb and Grigoian-Routan (2014) study. Future research might benefit from distinguishing between different aspects of spiritual functioning in the study of religious coping.

Third, Ano and Pargament (2013) theorized the development of spiritual struggle based on the individual's orienting system. In light of this theory, the results of the current study become especially intriguing. A sense of falling short in relating to God continues to predict negative spiritual coping even when perceived stress and anxious attachment (both aspects of negative emotionality) are controlled for. Similarly, discrepancy in relating to God continues to predict less positive spiritual coping when perceived social support, stress, and attachment are controlled for. It appears that for this population, discrepancy in aspects of spirituality is not just part of the individual's personality or emotionality but represents a distinct dimension of the religious orienting system which predicts both positive and negative spiritual coping. While the theory of the individual's orienting system has mostly been used to describe the development of spiritual struggle (Ano & Pargament, 2013; Trevino et al., 2017), the current study indicates that this theory might also be relevant for the explanation of positive spiritual coping. It further supports the findings of Wilt et al. (2018), who showed benefits of a positive religious orienting system on spiritual well-being. An individual whose spirituality is not performance-focused seems more readily able to experience God as a supportive presence in times of stress. Ironically, it appears from the current results that for young adults who are committed to their faith and are in a Christian college context, messages that emphasize an obligation to holiness and devotion to God might actually interfere with the individual's ability to turn to God for support in times of stress, especially when the individual has a sense of falling short in this devotion.

Limitations and Future Direction of Study.

Several limitations of this current study should be considered. The assessment of discrepancy in spirituality was exploratory in nature and should be followed up in future studies. One limitation might be that pre-existing scales were used to assess actual: ought and actual: ideal discrepancies in specific spiritual behaviors such as prayer life, regular quiet time, etc. Future research would benefit from an open inquiry as is used in the self-questionnaire by Higgins, Klein, and Strauman (1985). The RCOPE did not utilize a specific stressful event to assess religious coping strategies but asked how individuals generally cope with stressful events in life. The measure might have been strengthened by inquiring about a specific, intensely stressful event. Furthermore, for the assessment of attachment, the ECR-RS was only assessed in the context of a "mother or mother-like figure." Future research should also include the scale in relation to a father or father-like figure.

The cross-sectional design of the current study is another limitation that should be mentioned. Perceptions of discrepancy in spirituality, for example, were assessed at only one point in time. Future research would benefit from a longitudinal assessment of the concepts of discrepancy in spirituality and the stability of these constructs over time. In addition, all covariates of spiritual coping were assessed at the same time, including the assessment of attachment, which was retrospective in nature. Therefore, conclusions about predictors actually leading to or causing spiritual coping cannot be made based on this data.

Despite these limitations, the current study offers a novel view of factors associated with positive and negative religious coping, specifically the concept of self-discrepancy in areas of spirituality. The attempt to avoid problems of a performance-oriented faith can be seen in the apostle Paul's use of an indicative-imperative paradigm in his theology in which "Paul's general description of the hope and obedience in which Christians live as the restored people of God lays a necessary foundation for his more specific exhortations later in the letter (Romans)" (Thielman, 2005, p. 367). The notion of a performance-orientated spirituality that might undermine a secure relationship with God and the ability to experience God as a positive resource in times of stress is likely to be of great interest for future research and for educators at religious institutions.


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Julia Klausli

Divine Mercy University


Julia Klausli, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at Divine Mercy University, in Sterling, VA where she teaches primarily statistics, research methods and evaluation. After completing her doctorate in Developmental Psychology she worked as a research associate at the University of Texas at Dallas and afterwards taught for several years at the European School of Culture and Theology in Germany. Her current research interests are spirituality, spiritual coping in their relation to social and emotional well-being, and spirituality and marital relationship quality.

Correspondence regarding this article should be addressed to Julia Klausli, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology, Divine Mercy University, 45154 Underwood Lane, Sterling, VA 20166;
Table 1
Positive and negative spiritual coping and discrepancy of spirituality

                 Positive coping         Negative coping

Discrepancies    Ought       Ideal       Ought     Ideal

Prayer life      -.23 (**)   -.27 (***)   .14 (+)   .10
Great in         -.06        -.03         .00      -.11
Frequent         -.16        -.22 (**)    .07       .02
'quiet time'
Love for God     -.25 (***)  -.28 (***)   .18 (*)   .28 (***)
Compassion        .01        -.05        -.04      -.11
Scripture        -.15 (*)    -.14 (+)     .15 (*)   .04
Love for others  -.03        -.10         .04       .07
Prioritize       -.09         .00         .07       .07
Show fruit       -.16 (*)    -.24 (***)   .18 (*)   .25 (***)
of spirit
Social outreach  -.07        -.10        -.09      -.10
Active in        -.15 (*)    -.11         .11       .13 (+)

                        M (SD)          Paired t-test

Discrepancies    Ought       Ideal      t

Prayer life      1.12(.94)   1.67(.76)  9.15 (***)
Great in         1.27(.99)   1.77(.86)  7.09 (***)
Frequent         1.27(1.04)  1.64(.84)  6.66 (***)
'quiet time'
Love for God      .47(.71)    .61(.64)  4.33 (***)
Compassion        .31(.77)    .60(.71)  6.60 (***)
Scripture        1.32(1.08)  1.87(.83)  8.17 (***)
Love for others   .59(.89)    .83(.77)  5.16 (***)
Prioritize       1.03(1.07)  1.27(.97)  4.30 (***)
Show fruit        .86(.94)   1.15(.76)  6.24 (***)
of spirit
Social outreach  1.07(1.00)  1.34(.97)  4.90 (***)
Active in         .96(1.07)  1.14(.99)  3.75 (***)

(+) p<.1; (*) p<.05; (**) p<.01; (***) p<.001

Table 2
Bivariate correlations for positive and negative spiritual coping and
discrepancy of spirituality

                        1  2           3           4          5

Spiritual coping
1. Positive Coping      -  -.25 (***)  -.25 (**)   -.13 (+)   -.11
2. Negative Coping         -            .46 (***)   .22 (**)   .09
Situational domain
3. Perceived stress                    -            .21 (**)   .10
Personal domain
4. Anxious attachment                              -           .53 (***)
5. Avoidant attachment                                        -
Social domain
6. Perceived social
Spiritual domain
7. Spiritual
discrepancy: relating
to God (pos. cop.)
8. Spiritual
discrepancy: relating
to God (neg. cop.)
9. Spiritual
discrepancy: relating
to others

                        6      7      8      9      M (SD)

Spiritual coping
1. Positive Coping       .23   -.34   -.31   -.12    3.20 (.45)
                        (**)   (***)  (***)
2. Negative Coping      -.24    .23    .28    .02    1.73 (.57)
                        (**)   (**)   (***)
Situational domain
3. Perceived stress     -.30    .19    .18    .02   19.75 (5.87)
                        (***)  (**)   (*)
Personal domain
4. Anxious attachment   -.29    .02    .07   -.05    1.80 (1.40)
5. Avoidant attachment  -.41    .07    .13   -.02    3.09 (1.63)
                        (***)         (+)
Social domain
6. Perceived social     -      -.17   -.18   -.02    5.74 (.96)
support                        (*)    (*)
Spiritual domain
7. Spiritual                   -       .92    .58    1.20 (.51)
discrepancy: relating                 (***)  (***)
to God (pos. cop.)
8. Spiritual                          -       .58     .92 (.57)
discrepancy: relating                        (***)
to God (neg. cop.)
9. Spiritual                                 -       1.02 (.54)
discrepancy: relating
to others

(+) p<.1; (*) p<.05; (**) p<.01; (***) p<.001

Table 3
Hierarchical Regression Analysis Including Actual: Ideal Discrepancies

Predictors          [R.sup.2]  [DELTA][R.sup.2]  sr         [beta]

                               Negative Spiritual Coping
Step 1:             .24 (***)  .24 (***)
Anxious attachment                                .11       .11 (+)
Perceived stress                                  .28       .41 (***)
Social support                                    .08       .09
Step:2:             .27 (***)  .04 (**)
Discrepancy                                       .19       .19 (**)
(relating to God)
                               Positive Spiritual Coping
Step 1:                        .09 (**)           .09 (**)
Perceived stress                                 -.18       -.19 (*)
Social support                                    .15        .16 (*)
Anxious attachment                               -.04       -.04
Step 2:             .17 (***)  .08 (***)
Discrepancy score                                -.28       -.29 (***)
(relating to God)

Note: All beta weights presented are standardized beta coefficients.
(+) p<.1; (*) p<.05; (**) p<.01; (***) p<.001
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Author:Klausli, Julia
Publication:Journal of Psychology and Christianity
Date:Mar 22, 2019
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