Trajectories of Religious Coping From Adolescence Into Early Adulthood: Their Form and Relations to Externalizing Problems and Prosocial Behavior


  • The research reported in this article was partially supported by grants from the Italian Ministry of University and Research (MIUR, COFIN-2002, Prin-2005), the Spencer Foundation and W. T. Grant Foundation to Albert Bandura, the Johann Jacobs Foundation and Ministero dell'Istruzione dell'Univesità e della Ricerca to Gian Vittorio Caprara (COFIN 2000, 2002, 2004), and a grant from the National Institutes of Mental Health to Nancy Eisenberg. The article was prepared while Valeria Castellani and Laura Panerai were visiting scholars at Arizona State University as a part of an international exchange between Sapienza University of Rome and the Department of Psychology and the School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University.

concerning this article should be addressed to Nancy Eisenberg, Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 871104, Tempe, AZ 85287-1104. Email:


ABSTRACT Little is known about changes in religious coping and their relations to adolescents' and young adults' functioning. In 686 Italian youths, trajectories of religious coping were identified from age 16–17 years to age 22–23 years; cohorts of youths reported at 3 of the 4 assessments. Four trajectories of religious coping were identified: decreasing, low stable, high stable, and increasing. A decline in religious coping was associated with high levels of externalizing problems at age 16–17, whereas an increase in religious coping was associated with higher externalizing problems at ages 18–19 and 20–21 years and with relatively high involvement with deviant peers. High stable religious copers were high in prosocial behavior at three ages; low stable religious copers were higher than people undergoing change in their religious coping from mid-adolescence into early adulthood. These results can expand our current thinking about religious coping and adolescent adjustment.