The roles of religion and spirituality among African American survivors of domestic violence



The investigation examined religious involvement, spirituality, religious coping, and social support as correlates of posttraumatic stress symptoms and depression symptoms in African American survivors of domestic violence. Sixty-five African American women who experienced domestic violence in the past year provided data on demographics, severity and frequency of physical and psychological abuse during the past year, aspects of current social support, types of current coping activities, religious involvement, spiritual experiences, and symptoms related to depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. Women who evinced higher levels of spirituality and greater religious involvement reported fewer depression symptoms. Religious involvement was also found to be negatively associated with posttraumatic stress symptoms. Women who reported higher levels of spirituality reported utilizing higher levels of religious coping strategies, and women who reported higher levels of religious involvement reported higher levels of social support. Results did not support hypotheses regarding social support and religious coping as mediators of the associations between mental health variables, religious involvement, and spirituality. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol 62: 837–857, 2006.