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Keywords:

  • trauma;
  • posttraumatic stress disorder;
  • religion;
  • spirituality;
  • information processing

Abstract

Information processing theorists propose that traumatic events can lead to disruptions in the processing of information and to changes in beliefs. This study examined the relationships among trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and religious beliefs. Participants included 120 individuals from community and clinical samples who participated in the DSM-IV Field Trial Study on PTSD. Results indicated that the PTSD group was more likely to report changes in religious beliefs following the first/only traumatic event, generally becoming less religious. PTSD status was not related to change in religious beliefs following the most recent event. Intrinsic religiosity was related to multiple victimization, but not PTSD. Results are discussed in terms of understanding the function of religiosity in participants' lives and future directions for research.