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Charonne Covington, Gina Magyar-Russell, Ph.D.

The Impact of Religious Coping and Sexual Attitudes on Sense of Coherence and Self-Actualization

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Positive psychology is founded on the premise that individuals have a desire to have meaning and fulfillment in their lives (Adams, 2012). Furthermore, an individual’s experiences, strengths, virtues, and sense of purpose play a significant role in the improvement of that life (McNaulty & Fincham, 2011). In this study, we examine the associations between religious coping, sexual attitudes, sense of coherence, and self-actualization to gain a better understanding of the role these constructs play in people’s lives. A convenience sample of adults (N=134; mean age = 41) completed measures of these four constructs, among other scales. Overall, positive religious coping was positively correlated with erotophobia (r = .34, p≤.01) and negatively correlated with erotophilia (r = -.31, p≤.01). Sense of coherence was strongly correlated with negative religious coping (r = -.36, p≤.01), self-actualization (r = .51, p≤.01), and erotophobia (r = .29, p≤.01). We hypothesized that self-actualization would act as a mediator between positive religious coping and sense of coherence, but the initial correlational criteria between these three variables was not met and therefore the mediation analyses could not be conducted.  Mental health professionals may need to assess individual nuances regarding the use of positive forms of religious coping with sexual problems, as they appear to be linked to both negative and positive attitudes about sex. Moreover, sense of coherence was linked to self-actualization; when these variables are assessed overtime, they may assist in the prediction of health-related outcomes. This research study advances the efforts to integrate religion and spirituality holistically in clinical settings by increasing understanding of factors that may facilitate, or hinder, an individual’s quality of life.

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