Religious coping research and contemporary personality theory: An exploration of Endler's (1997) integrative personality theory


Correspondence should be addressed to Michele Schottenbauer, Department of Psychology, 314 O'Boyle Hall, The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC 20064, USA (e-mail:


Notable weaknesses in the literature on religion and mental health include theoretical inconsistencies and lack of integration with contemporary personality theory. The current study explored a potential solution to these theoretical limitations. A modified form of Endler's (1997) interactive model of personality was applied to the prediction of religious coping and tested using structural equation modelling. As predicted by the model, personality dispositions predicted coping directly, as well as indirectly through perception of the situation and situational anxiety. These patterns were, as expected, found to interact with the type of situation. Results indicated that having a positive disposition appears to buffer one's negative perceptions of situations over which one has little control. Participants tended to use more religious coping in low-control situations; in high-control situations, participants tended not to use negative religious coping techniques such as pleading for miracles.