Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Theology

Journal of Religion and Health

Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Theology

Journal of Religion and Health

Article excerpt

Religious doubt has been a concern to researchers who study the effects of lifetime trauma, but there is little research on humility as a protective factor in coping with these kinds of stressors. 'When stressful events occur in one's life or when suffering is observed in others, religious doubt may occur as a result of trying to understand why stressful events arise. Stressful events may impact one's feeling of control in their life as well as threaten one's self worth. Humility may buffer the effects of stressful events because humble people have been described as having an accurate view of the self, open to new ways of thinking, less competitive, and more likely to seek out social support. These authors believed that traumatic events would predict religious doubt, but that those who are more humble (i.e., older individuals) would experience less religious doubt.

Participants were part of a nationwide study of Caucasian and African American adults over 66 years of age. Data was collected in four waves: 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2008. This study focuses on waves 3 and 4. Religious doubt, humility, and lifetime trauma were measured. In measuring lifetime trauma, participants were presented with a list of 25 traumatic events and were asked to indicate which events they had experienced. They also used a religious variable (i.e., church attendance and frequency of prayer) and demographic variables (i.e., age, sex, education, and race) as control variables.

They found that greater exposure to trauma was associated with higher levels of religious doubt over time, but that humility was not a signifcant predictor of change in religious doubt. However, they found a significant interaction effect between humility and age on religious doubt over time, such that older adults who were less humble (i. …

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