A Paper: Does Spirituality Help in Dealing with Financial Stress?

The journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality has accepted a paper from us. Its lead author is Ian Gutierrez, a talented graduate student in Psychology here at UConn.

Title: “When the Divine Defaults: Religious Struggle Mediates the Impact of Financial Stressors on Psychological Distress”

Authors: Ian A. Gutierrez, Crystal L. Park, and Bradley R.E. Wright

Abstract: It is generally assumed that religion provides support, strength, and solace to those grappling with financial difficulties. Recently, however, scholars have found evidence of harmful effects of religion by way of negative religious coping and religious or spiritual struggle. To date, these potentially negative phenomena have not been studied in the context of coping with financial stressors. Using intensive longitudinal data collected twice daily for 14 days from 439 participants, we explored whether and how religious struggle with the divine factors into the relationship between financial hardship and distress. Chronic financial stress, as measured by inability to pay bills on a routine basis, had a direct effect on depression, whereas acute financial stress did not. Religious struggle with the divine mediated the effect of acute financial stressors on depression but not the effect of chronic financial stress on depression. These findings suggest that financial hardship impacts well-being by way of religious struggle in the short term, but that spiritual struggle has less impact on the relationship between financial hardship and well-being in the long term. The implications of these findings are discussed.

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