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International journal for the psychology of religion.

Previous research has established how childhood attachment extends into adult romantic attachment and attachment to God. Other research has shown that individuals' styles of attachment to God are differentially associated with three types of spiritual coping methods, self-directing, deferring, and collaborative. Hernandez, Salerno, & Bottoms (2010) sought to extend this body of research by investigating the relationship between God attachment, spiritual coping, and alcohol use. A "novel link" was established between God attachment and alcohol use (p. 106).

Research on spiritual coping methods has identified three spiritual coping styles associated with people's relational state with God: self-directing, a self-reliant coping and problem-solving style that works independently of God; deferring, where the responsibility of problem-solving rests on God alone; and collaborative, a problem-solving style that views God and person as cooperative partners in coping and problem-solving. Moreover, a person's God attachment has been differentially associated with these coping methods. Hernandez, Salerno, & Bottoms (2010) sought to extend research on attachment and coping by being the first to study "the effects of God attachment and spiritual coping on alcohol use" (p. 99). They hypothesized that spiritual coping styles would mediate the effect of God attachment on alcohol use. Specifically, they predicted that insecure God attachment style, compared to secure God attachment style, would use "collaborative and deferring style coping styles less and self-directing coping style more," which would then result in increased alcohol use (p. 100).

For the study, 429 undergraduate Introductory Psychology students from the University of Illinois at Chicago participated for course credit. The sample's (60% female) religious orientation was 46% Catholic, 43% Christian, 6% Hindu, 3% Muslim, 2% Jewish, 0.4% Greek Orthodox, and 0.4% Sikh. Five measures were utilized to test their hypotheses. The Attachment to God Scale was used to measure participants' "perceived emotional attachment to God" (p. 101). The Religious Problem-Solving Scale was used to measure participants' "religious problem solving tendencies," broken down into three spiritual coping styles: self-directing, deferring, and collaborative (p. 101). The Alcohol-Related Coping Scale was used to measure participants' "social, coping, and enhancement motives for drinking alcohol" (p. 101). The Alcohol Frequency Scale was used to measure participants' general alcohol use. Finally, participants' religious characteristics, such as religious orientation and level of religious involvement, were measured.

To test the data, the researchers first implemented a series of one-way between-subjects ANOVA with God attachment style as the independent variable and spiritual coping styles, alcohol-related coping, and general alcohol use as dependent variables. This was followed by mediation analyses to test if the "effect of God attachment on alcohol use and alcohol coping was mediated by spiritual coping styles" (p. 102). Related to spiritual coping, there was a significant main effect of God attachment on spiritual coping, F(2,226) = 26.88, p <.05. Planned comparisons revealed that participants with secure God attachments used the collaborative coping style significantly more than participants with insecure God attachments. There was a significant main effect of God attachment on use of deferring coping style, F(2, 226) = 12.67, p <.05, and planned comparisons showed that participants with secure God attachments used deferring coping style more than participants with insecure attachments to God. Finally, There was a significant main effect of God attachment on use of self-directing coping style, jF(2, 226) = 25.67, p <.05, and planned comparisons showed that participants with secure God attachments used self-directing coping style less than participants with insecure attachments to God. With regard to God attachment on alcohol-related coping, no significant main effects were present. With general alcohol use, a significant main effect of God attachment style on general alcohol use was present, F(2,234) = 3.24, p <.05, where participants securely attached to God used alcohol less than participants with insecure God attachments. Finally, mediation analyses revealed that the utilization of self-directing spiritual coping style "fully mediated the effect of God attachment on alcohol use" (p. 104). Compared to participants with secure attachments to God, participants insecurely attached to God had greater use of alcohol [( =.14), t(232) D 2.13, p <.05]; and they usedself-directing coping styles more ( =.14), t(227) D 6.78, p <.05, and deferring [( = -.24), t(227) D -4.56, p <.05] and collaborative coping styles [( = -.41), [pounds sterling](227) D -6.78, p <.05] less. Finally, "self-directing coping was the only significant mediator that significantly predicted alcohol use, such that greater self- directing coping led to increased alcohol use [(=.19), t(224) D 2.12, p <.05]" (p. 104).

The results suggest that individuals who are securely attached to God are more comfortable than insecures in seeking support from and depending on God when dealing with problems. Because the secures possess this additional support in God, it may allow secures to manage negative emotions in more adaptive ways, whereas insecures may use alcohol to avoid feelings of distance from or fears of abandonment by God. The results also indicated an insecure God attachment leads to method of coping that is independent of God, which then leads to higher frequencies of drinking. Based on these results, the researchers hypothesized that insecures may rely on themselves in times of trouble as a result feelings of distance or abandonment by God, and therefore may "need alternatives such as alcohol to cope with negative affect" (p. 106). This study's findings offer useful information regarding the role of God attachment among individuals "at risk for maladaptive substance-based coping" (p. 107).

Attachment to God, Spiritual Coping, and Alcohol Use Vol. 20, 97-108

Further Readings

Holder, M. D., Coleman, B., & Wallace, J. M. (2010). Spirituality, religiousness, and happiness in children aged 8--12 years. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11(2), 131-150.

Ungureanu, I., & Sandberg, J. G. (2010). "Broken together": Spirituality and religion as coping strategies for couples dealing with the death of a child: A literature review with clinical implications. Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal, 32(3), 302-319.

Mahoney, A. (2010). Religion in families, 1999 2009: A relational spirituality framework. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72(4), 805-827

Lambert, N. M., Clark, M. S., Durtschi, J., Fincham, F. D., & Graham, S. M. (2010). Benefits of expressing gratitude: Expressing gratitude to a partner changes one's view of the relationship. Psychological Science, 21(4), 574-580.

Nielsen, R., Marrone, J. A., & Slay, H. S. (2010). A new look at humility: Exploring the humility concept and its role in socialized charismatic leadership. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 17(1), 33-43.
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Title Annotation:JOURNAL FILE
Author:G., Hernandez; J., Salerno; B., Bottoms
Publication:Journal of Psychology and Theology
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2011
Previous Article:Psychology of religion and spirituality.

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