Stress From a Biblical Perspective Assignment | Buy Assignments Online

After reading the provided article, discuss the topic of stress from a Biblical perspective.  What insights about stress can be gleaned from the article? What insights about stress can be gained from the Bible?  Provide at least one specific example from the Bible of a traumatic event or stressful situation and how the stress was handled.  Cite the journal article (one required), the Bible (verse and application required), along with any other sources used in APA format (optional additional sources).  in at least 200–250 words

Save Time On Research and Writing
Hire a Pro to Write You a 100% Plagiarism-Free Paper.
Get My Paper



Reading the Bible, Stressful Life Events, and Hope: Assessing an Overlooked Coping Resource

Neal Krause1 • Kenneth I. Pargament2

Save Time On Research and Writing
Hire a Pro to Write You a 100% Plagiarism-Free Paper.
Get My Paper

Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Abstract Many people rely on religion to deal with the stressors in their lives. The purpose of this study is to examine a religious coping resource that has received relatively

little attention—reading the Bible. We evaluated three hypotheses: (1) reading the Bible

moderates the relationship between stress and hope; (2) people who read the Bible more

often are more likely to rely on benevolent religious reappraisal coping responses; and (3)

individuals who rely on benevolent religious reappraisals will be more hopeful about the

future. Support was found for all three hypotheses in our analyses.


Keywords Bible

� Stressful events

� Hope


It seems that virtually every survey on religion contains a question on how often study

participants read the Bible or other sacred literature. However, these data have not been

exploited fully. Instead, questions on reading sacred literature are, more often than not,

relegated to the status of a control variable or they are combined with other religious

behaviors to form more comprehensive indices of private religious practices (Ciarrocchi

et al. 2008; Davis and Epkins 2009; Marquine et al. 2015). Handling Bible reading in this

manner makes it easy to overlook important functions that may be performed by this

particular type of religious behavior.

As Hood et al. (2009) maintain, religion performs a number of important functions. One

function involves helping people cope with adversity. The purpose of the current study is to

see whether reading the Bible or other sacred literature serves as a potentially important

& Neal Krause


1 Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, 1415 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029, USA

2 Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH, USA


J Relig Health

coping resource. We have been able to identify only two quantitative studies that focus

specifically on turning to religious literature in the face of adversity. The first study was

conducted by Johnson et al. (2016). These investigators studied 101 women who were

diagnosed with PTSD. They report that women with PTSD were more likely to read the

Bible on a regular basis when they were exposed to a traumatic life event. The second

study was conducted by Tepper et al. (2001). These researchers studied 406 individuals

who were diagnosed with persistent mental illness. They found that 30% of their study

participants turned to reading scriptures in an effort to cope with symptoms of mental

illness. Since both of these studies were conducted with special populations, it is difficult to

determine whether the findings can be generalized to a wider population.

Further support for the notion that religious literature is a potentially important coping

resource is provided by a small cluster of qualitative studies. Based on a series of in-depth

interviews, Arcury et al. (2000) found that reading the Bible was a common response to the

challenges that are associated with disease self-management. Similarly, Gerdner et al.

(2007) found that one of the primary ways in which family members helped women who

were dealing with caregiving stressors involved reading Bible passages to them on a

regular basis. Another qualitative study by Hamilton et al. (2013) suggests that the Bible is

often used as a mental-health-promoting resource during stressful times. Further support

for the notion that people turn to sacred literature in order to cope with adversity is found in

the research program of Krause (2002). He conducted a series of qualitative studies in an

effort to develop closed-ended survey items on religiousness. One closed-ended item in his

resulting measure of spiritual support asked study participants to report how often, ‘‘… someone in your congregation helps you find solutions to your problems in the Bible?’’

(Krause 2008, p. 38).

The findings from the studies that have been reviewed so far suggest that some people

turn to the Bible for help in dealing with stressors they encounter in their lives. However,

this research does not directly test whether people reap specific benefits from doing so. In

order to address this issue, researchers must assess whether reading the Bible moderates the

relationship between stress- and health-related outcomes. We are unaware of any studies

that empirically evaluate this statistical interaction with data from members of the general

population. The first goal of the current study is to address this gap in the literature.

Two questions must be addressed at this juncture in order to flesh out the theoretical

underpinnings of our study. First, it is important to reflect more deeply on what people may

actually get (or hope to receive) when they turn to sacred literature during difficult times.

As we will discuss below, addressing this issue provides a way of thinking about religious

coping that has not received sufficient attention in the literature. Second, it is important to

identify an outcome measure that is well suited for capturing the potential benefits of

turning to the Bible for help in overcoming adversity.

What Reading Religious Literature May Provide

Wuthnow’s (1994) widely cited work on support groups in American society provides a

useful source of information on what people hope to get when they turn to sacred literature

for assistance. This work is relevant because Wuthnow (1994) devotes considerable

attention to Bible study groups, which are formal groups in religious institutions that are

designed to help people learn about their faith by discussing scriptures and other reli-

giously oriented literature. Wuthnow (1994) reports that an important function of Bible

study groups is to help people deal with personal crises. This is accomplished by helping

J Relig Health


people deepen their faith and develop more realistic and mature ways of thinking about the

nature of God. A more mature view of God includes trusting in Him and believing that

what has happened is part of His plan for helping those who are in need. This function

corresponds closely to Pargament’s notion of a benevolent religious reappraisal coping

response (Pargament et al. 2000). As Pargament and his colleagues argue, benevolent

religious reappraisals do not deny the reality of the seriousness of an event (Pargament

et al. 2000). Instead, this type of coping response helps a person reframe the meaning of a

stressful situation by placing it in a larger more positive and hopeful religious context.

Based on these insights, the second goal of the current study is to see whether turning to

sacred literature is associated with greater use of benevolent religious coping responses.

Pursuing this second goal is important because it highlights an understudied dimension

of religious coping and represents a shift in thinking about reading the Bible. Instead of

being a form of instructional religious practice or discipline, reading the Bible in this

context becomes a way of coming to terms with one’s own life problems. Based on the

discussion that has been provided up to this point, we view reading religious literature as a

religious coping resource in its own right. Similarly, benevolent religious reappraisals are

also construed as a religious coping resource. By linking the two empirically, we aim to

show that one religious coping resource (i.e., reading the Bible) serves as a gateway for a

second religious coping resource (i.e., adopting benevolent religious reappraisals). The two

differ in that one (Bible reading) is a more distal factor, while the other (benevolent

appraisals) is a more proximal factor in the coping process. However, they are similar

because when they are taken together, they provide a richer conceptual view of the way in

which people may use their faith to deal with adversity: they rely on multiple religious

coping resources, not just one and they may activate these resources in a sequential


We were unable to find any studies in the literature that examine the association

between reading the Bible and benevolent religious coping responses. However, research

by Vishkin and his colleagues provides some support for examining this relationship

(Vishkin et al. 2006). These investigators report that individual who are more religious are

more likely to use general cognitive reappraisal coping responses. Our work attempts to

bring this relationship into sharper focus by examining one specific dimension of religion

that may be involved in this relationship (i.e., Bible reading) and coping responses that are

more explicitly religious in nature (i.e., benevolent religious reappraisals).

How the Benefits of Reading Religious Literature May be Manifest

Hope is the primary outcome variable in the analyses that are provided below. The reason

for choosing this outcome measures can be traced to two findings in the literature. First,

research reviewed by Folkman (2010) suggests that stress may erode a person’s sense of

hope. Second, the benevolent reappraisals coping strategy that was discussed above may

help replenish a threatened sense of hope. This coping response includes the belief that

even though one is faced with adversity, God has a plan. Moreover, this plan will

strengthen a focal person, thereby allowing them to ultimately hand the stressful situation

successfully. Implied in this perspective is the notion that although the precise nature of the

plan may not have been grasped fully, some people have faith and hope that the plan will

ultimately lead to the best outcome. There are both biblical as well as social psychological

reasons why hope makes a good outcome in the research on religion and stress.

J Relig Health


With respect to a biblical basis, the apostle Paul succinctly captured the role of hope in

the process of relying on religion to deal with adversity: ‘‘We also glorify in our sufferings

because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character,

and character hope.’’ (Romans 5:3–5, New International Version). It follows from this that

if a person turns to the Bible for solace and guidance during difficult times, they may

eventually become more hopeful about the future.

Snyder and his colleagues provide a clear social psychological framework for linking

involvement in religion with hope (Snyder et al. 2002). According to these investigators,

hope is viewed as a goal-directed cognitive process that includes both planning and the

motivation to reach goals. These researchers go on to point out that religion provides a

prepackaged configuration of goals, pathways for accomplishing these goals, and the

necessary cognitions for successfully pursuing the pathways. Perhaps this is one reason

why Capps (1996) argues that pastors are fundamentally providers of hope: ‘‘Pastors, I

suggest, are agents of hope by definition (or calling) and often that is all they are’’ (p. 325,

emphasis in the original).

Findings from a number of empirical studies are consistent with this logic. More

specifically, research by Krause and his colleagues (Krause 2014; Krause and Hayward

2012; Krause et al. 2015) as well as studies by Jankowski and Sandage (2011) indicates

that greater involvement in various aspects of religious life is associated with a greater

sense of hope.

Taken as a whole, the discussion that is provided above leads to the following study


H1 The magnitude of the relationship between stress and hope will be lower for people who read the Bible more frequently.

H2 People who read the Bible more frequently will be more likely to adopt a benevolent religious reappraisal coping strategy.

H3 Individuals who adopt a benevolent religious reappraisal coping strategy will be more hopeful about the future.



The data for this study come from a nationwide, face-to-face, random probability survey of

people aged 18 and older who live in the coterminous USA. The interviews, which were

completed in 2014, were conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC).

The response rate for this study was 50%. A total of 3010 interviews were completed

successfully. The sample was stratified into the following age groups: age 18–40

(N = 1000), age 41–64 (N = 1002), and age 65 and older (N = 1008).

After using listwise deletion to deal with item nonresponse, data were available for

between 2873 and 2159 study participants. The reason for different sample sizes is the way

information on benevolent religious reappraisals was obtained. Study participants were

given a checklist of 12 life events they may have encountered in the past 18 months. The

respondents were asked to identify the one life event that was most stressful for them.

Following this, study participants were told to keep this event in mind as they answer the

questions on benevolent religious reappraisals. A total of 707 study participants were

J Relig Health


excluded from the current study because they did not encounter a major stressor in the

previous 18 months.

A series of preliminary analyses were performed in order to develop a demographic

profile of the participants in this study. These analyses suggest that the average age of the

participants in the current study was 46.4 years (SD 17.7 years), 43.8% are men, 44.7%

were married at the time of the interview, and the average level of educational attainment

was 13.4 years (SD 3.1 years). These descriptive data as well as the findings that are

presented below are based on data that have been weighted.


Table 1 contains the measures of the core constructs that are evaluated in this study. The

procedures that were used to code these indicators are given in the footnotes of this table.


Three indicators were taken from the work of Scheier and Carver (1985) to measure hope.

A high score denotes greater hope (M = 11.0; SD 2.1; range 3–15). The internal consis-

tency reliability estimate (i.e., Cronbach’s a) for the composite measure of hope is .707.1

Bible Reading

A single indicator that assesses how often study participants read the Bible when they are

alone was taken from the work of the Fetzer Institute/National Institute on Aging Working

Group (1999). A high score on this item represents study participants who read the Bible

more often (M = 3.1; SD 2.4; range 1–8).

Stressful Life Events

Exposure to stressful life events was assessed with a 12-item checklist that was developed

by Moos et al. (1984). A simple count of the number of events that respondents had

encountered in the 18-month period prior to the survey was computed. The average number

of events was 2.7 (SD 2.1; range 0–12).

Benevolent Religious Reappraisals

This coping response measure was developed by Pargament and his colleagues (Pargament

et al. 2000). A high score stands for respondents who relied on this coping strategy more

1 Scheier and Carver (1985) claim that the items in their scale assess optimism, but we refer to them as indicators of hope. Following the seminal work of Peterson and Seligman (2004), we believe the terms ‘‘hope’’ and ‘‘optimism’’ are virtually synonymous. Moreover, these investigators note, the correlation between the two is ‘‘considerable’’ (Peterson and Seligman 2004, p. 570) and despite differences in the way they are operationalized, the correlates of these constructs are ‘‘strikingly similar’’ (Peterson and Seligman 2004, p. 570). The reader might also wonder whether the items we use to assess hope capture a state-like or trait-like phenomenon. Generally speaking, state-like phenomenon are less stable than trait-like phe- nomenon. However, as we will show below, stressful life events tend to be negatively associated with hope, suggesting that the construct we measure changes over time. Clearly, longitudinal data are needed to address this issue.

J Relig Health


often (M = 7.5; SD 2.9; range 3–12). The reliability estimate for this brief composite is


Religion Control Variables

Two additional measures of religion were included in the analyses provided below to help

insure that the effects were due to bible reading per se and not some other dimension of

Table 1 Core study measures

1. Hopea

A. I always look at the bright side of things

B. I’m optimistic about my future

C. In uncertain times, I usually expect the best

2. Bible readingb

When you are at home, how often do you read the Bible?

3. Stressful life eventsc

A. Moved to a new residence

B. Death of a close friend

C. Separation or divorce

D. Trouble with family members

E. Trouble with friends or neighbors

F. Your own serious illness or injury

G. Serious illness or injury of a family member

H. Death of a spouse

I. Death of an immediate family member (other than spouse)

J. Unemployed for more than a month

K. Income decreased substantially (20% or more)

L. Assaulted or robbed

4. Benevolent religious reappraisalsd

A. Saw my situation as part of God’s plan

B. Tried to find a lesson from God in the event

C. Tried to see how God might be trying to strengthen me in this situation

5. Church attendancee

How often do you attend religious services?

6. Private prayerb

How often do you pray by yourself?

aThese items were scored in the following manner (coding in parentheses): strongly disagree (1), disagree (2), uncertain (3), agree (4), strongly agree (5) bThis item was scored in the following manner: never (1), less than once a month (2), once a month (3), a few times a month (4), once a week (5), a few times a week (6), once a day (7), several times a day (8) cA simple count was taken of the number of events that were experienced dThese items were scored in the following manner: not at all (1), a little bit (2), quite a lot (3), a great deal (4) eThis item was scored in the following manner: never (1), less than once a year (2), about once or twice a year (3), several times a year (4), about once a month (5), 2 to 3 times a month (6), nearly every week (7), every week (8), several times a week (9)

J Relig Health


religion that is associated with it. These religion control variables assess the frequency of

church attendance and the frequency of private prayer. These items were taken from

research by the Fetzer Institute/National Institute on Aging Working Group (1999). A high

score on these items reflects more frequent church attendance (M = 4.7; SD 2.8; range 1–9)

and more frequent private prayer (M = 5.9; SD 2.5; range 1–8), respectively.

Demographic Control Variables

The relationships among the measures in Table 1 were estimated after the effects of age,

sex, education, and marital status were controlled statistically. Age and education were

scored continuously in years, whereas sex (1 = men; 0 = women) and marital status

(1 = married; 0 = otherwise) were coded in a binary format.

Data Analysis Strategy

The first hypothesis that was developed for this study specifies that the relationship

between stressful life events and hope will be weaker for study participants who read the

Bible more often. This means we expect to find a statistical interaction effect between

stress and Bible reading on hope. Following the procedures that are recommended by

Aiken and West (1991), tests for this interaction were performed with ordinary least

squares multiple regression analyses. All of the independent variables were centered on

their means. Following this, a multiplicative term was created by multiplying the centered

vales of the stress by the centered values of Bible reading. Then, a test for the proposed

interaction effect was conducted in two steps. First, the additive relationships between the

independent variables and hope were estimated in Model 1. Second, the cross-product term

was entered into the model in the second step (Model 2).

If the regression coefficient associated with the multiplicative term is statistically sig-

nificant, then it is important to perform some additional calculations to see whether the

proposed interaction effect is in the hypothesized direction. These additional computations

are performed with a formula that is provided by Aiken and West (1991, see p. 12).

Support for the first hypothesis would be found if the relationship between stress and hope

becomes progressively weaker at successively higher levels of Bible reading. Although any

value of Bible reading can be used in these additional computations, we selected four

equally spaced scores that capture the full distribution of bible reading values: 2, 4, 6, 8. It

is important to show that there are a sufficient number of cases at each of the selected data

points because too few cases can result in statistical estimation problems with data

sparseness (see Cohen et al. 2003, for a discussion of data sparseness). The following

number of cases was observed at each of the selected bible reading scores: 2 (N = 423), 4

(N = 188), 6 (N = 296), and 8 (N = 106). As these data reveal, we did not encounter

problems with data sparseness at these selected values of Bible reading. Once estimates

have been derived at the selected data points, Aiken and West (1991) provide an additional

formula that reveals whether these coefficients are statistically significant.

The tests for Hypothesis 2 and Hypothesis 3 were more straightforward. OLS was used

in both cases. Hypothesis 2 was evaluated by regressing benevolent religious reappraisal

coping scores on the religion control variables, the demographic control variables, and the

frequency of Bible reading. The stress measure was not included in these analyses because,

as we discussed above, questions on benevolent religious reappraisals refer specifically to

the single most stressful event. Hypothesis 3 was assessed by regressing hope on the

J Relig Health


frequency of Bible reading, stressful life events, the interaction between reading the Bible

and stress, benevolent religious coping responses, and the control variables.


Table 2 contains the results of the test of Hypothesis 1. Findings from the first step of the

data analysis procedures that were discussed above are provided by Model 1, whereas

Model 2 contains the results that were obtained after the multiplicative term was added to

the regression equation.

Two noteworthy results emerge from the estimates that were derived from Model 1.

First, the data suggest that greater exposure to stressful life events is associated with a

diminished sense of hope (b = – .134; p\ .001). But in contrast, reading the Bible more often does not appear to be associated with hope (b = .034; ns.).2

The estimates that were derived with Model 2 are of greater interest because they

contain the test for the proposed interaction between stress and Bible reading on hope.

These data indicate that a significant interaction between stress and Bible reading is present

in the data (b = .029; p\ .001; unstandardized regression coefficients are discussed when presenting the results of tests for interaction effects because standardized effects are

meaningless in this context).

2 Preliminary analyses suggest that the level of exposure to stressful life events is not significantly asso- ciated with the frequency of Bible reading (r = – .024; ns.).

Table 2 Assessing the relation- ships among bible reading, stress, and hope (N = 2873)

aStandardized regression coefficient bMetric (unstandardized) regression coefficient

*p\ .05; **p\ .01; ***p\ .001

Model 1 Model 2

Independent variables

Age – .059**a – .062***

(- .007) (- .007)

Sex – .022 – .022

(- .093) (- .091)

Education – .044* – .044*

(- .029) (- .030)

Marital status .027 .028

(.112) (.117)

Church attendance .069** .071**

(.052) (.053)

Private prayer .105*** .108***

(.089) (.090)

Stressful events – .134*** – .132***

(- .136) (- .133)

Bible reading .034 .035

(.029) (.031)

(Bible Reading X Stressful Events) – –


Multiple R2 .053 .058

J Relig Health


Following the data analyses strategy that was presented earlier, additional computations

were performed at four equally spaced Bible reading scores to see whether the interaction

effect is in the hypothesized direction. The results from these additional calculations are

not shown in Table 2. A value of 2 represents people who read the Bible less than once a

month. The additional calculations reveal that greater exposure to stressful life events

among people at this level of Bible reading is associated with lower hope scores

(b = – .164; b = – .166; p\ .001). A score of 4 stands for people who read the Bible a few times a month. At this level of Bible reading, stress is still associated with lower hope

scores (b = – .106; b = – .108; p\ .001). However, the standardized estimate is about 35.4% smaller than the estimate for study participants at the previous level (i.e., those who

read the Bible less than once a month). Study participants with a score of 6 say they read

the Bible a few times a week. At this level, stress is not significantly associated with hope

(b = – .049; b = – .050; ns.). The same is true for study participants who read the Bible several times a day (i.e., those with a score of 8) (b = .008; b = .008; ns.). Looking across the full range of scores, the data suggest that reading the Bible more often tends to fully

moderate (i.e., offset) the negative relationship between stress and hope. These data

therefore provide support for Hypothesis 1.

Hypothesis 2 was designed to examine one way in which the potentially beneficial effects

of reading the Bible might arise. This issue was addressed by estimating the relationship

between reading the Bible and relying on benevolent religious reappraisal coping responses

when the most significant life event in the previous 18 months was encountered. As discussed

above, this relationship was evaluated by regressing benevolent reappraisal coping scores on

the frequency of Bible reading as well as age, sex, education, marital status, church atten-

dance, and prayer. These additional analyses (not shown here) indicate that people who read

the Bible more often are more likely to rely on benevolent religious reappraisal coping

responses when the most stressful event was encountered (b = .130; b = .158; p\ .001). Hypothesis 3 was designed to bring the analyses full circle by assessing whether greater

use of benevolent religious reappraisal coping responses is associated with greater hope.

Recall that this hypothesis was evaluated by regressing hope on benevolent religious

reappraisals, the frequency of reading the Bible, stress, the interaction between reading the

Bible and stress, and the control variables. The findings (not shown here) suggest that

people who use benevolent reappraisals to deal with the greatest stressor tend to be more

hopeful (b = .215; b = .148; p\ .001). Support is therefore found for Hypothesis 3. These analyses further reveal that the interaction between reading the Bible and stress is still

statistically significant (b = .024; p\ .01), but it is approximately 17.2% smaller than the estimate that is provided when the measure of benevolent reappraisals is not in the model

(see Table 2) ((.029- .024/.029) = .172).


Sacred texts are, arguably, the backbone of a faith tradition.3 They typically contain

information on the history of a faith tradition, but, more importantly, they also contain

precepts which presumably lead to a better life. Even though sacred texts are a vitally

3 Our study was conducted in the U.S. and as a result, the study participants were overwhelmingly Christian. The statement that religious texts are the backbone of a faith tradition is appropriate for those with a Judeo-Christian background. It should be emphasized, however, that religious texts may play a less central role in other faith traditions, such as Buddhism.

J Relig Health


important part of a faith tradition, it is surprising to find that empirical research on them has

lagged behind research in other substantive areas (e.g., religious coping) in the religion and

health literature. The purpose of the current study was to redress this imbalance in the

literature by assessing whether reading sacred texts contributes to the quality of life by

providing access to potentially important coping resources. Toward this end, three

hypotheses were evaluated. The first specified that the relationship between stress and hope

would be weaker among people who read the Bible more often. It was proposed in the

second hypothesis that people who read the Bible more often will be more likely to adopt

benevolent religious reappraisal coping responses to deal with the single most troublesome

life event they encountered in the previous 18 months. According to the third hypothesis,

individuals who adopt benevolent religious reappraisal coping responses will be more

hopeful about the future. The data from the current study provide support for each of these


There are three reasons why the findings from this study are noteworthy. First, to the

best of our knowledge, this is the first study that assesses the potential stress-buffering

function of reading sacred scriptures in the general population. Second, an effort was made

to move beyond this important issue by clearly identifying one way in which reading the

Bible may confer stress-related benefits: adopting benevolent religious reappraisal coping

responses. Third, we examined these issues with data from a large nationally representative

survey of adults.

Even though our research may have contributed to the literature, a substantial amount of

work remains to be done on reading sacred scriptures. Perhaps the greatest need has to do

with the measurement of this core construct. As in the current study, researchers often

assess reading sacred scriptures with a single indicator (e.g., Fetzer Institute/National

Institute on Aging Working Group 1999). Yet even a moments reflect reveals that reading

sacred scriptures is a complex phenomenon in its own right. Briefly reflecting on research

on prayer helps illustrate this point. Many researchers initially assessed prayer with a single

indicator. But as this literature began to evolve, it quickly became evident that there are

different types of prayer (Poloma and Gallup 1991) and different functions of prayer

(Spilka and Ladd 2013). Perhaps researchers can develop a counterpart to this literature in

their work on reading sacred scriptures. For example, it might be useful to devise a

topology of reasons for reading the Bible. Some people might read the Bible for help in

dealing with stress, but others might read sacred scriptures simply to deepen their faith,

while yet other individuals may read the Bible in order to feel closer to their chosen faith,

thereby deriving comfort in knowing they are part of an ongoing tradition. These (and

other) reasons for reading scriptures could be measured directly and then examined in

larger models to see which one(s) are associated with health-related outcomes.

Following closely on the point that was raised above, it would be helpful to identify the

specific Biblical passages that people turn to when they encounter stressful events. This in

turn may help flesh out our understanding about how Bible reading shapes religious coping

responses. Unfortunately, our study does not contain data on the specific Biblical passages

that people consult during difficult times. Gathering this type of information should be a

high priority in the future.

As the data in our study reveal, Bible reading, stress, and religious coping responses do

not explain all of the variance in the hope outcome measure. This suggests that hope is

likely to be influenced by other aspects of religious life, as well. Research by Krause and

his colleagues suggests that social relationships in the church may play an important role in

this respect. More specifically Krause and Hayward (2012) report that more frequent

informal support from pastors is associated with increases in hope over time. Similarly,

J Relig Health


research by Krause, Ellison, Shaw, Marcum and Boardman (2001) indicates that more

frequent informal support from fellow church members is associated with greater use of

religious coping responses.

It would also be important to gather more information on the context in which Bible

reading takes place. We assess Bible reading in private, but people also attend Bible study

groups. It would be helpful to see whether reading the Bible in groups conveys a similar or

even greater benefit than reading the Bible privately.

In order to advance research on reading the Bible, investigators should also address the

limitations in the work we have presented. At least two shortcomings are in need of

attention. First, the data for our study are cross-sectional. Consequently, the causal

ordering among the constructs in our models was based on theoretical considerations alone.

For example, we assumed that people who rely on benevolent religious reappraisals are

subsequently more likely to feel hopeful about the future. But one might just as easily

argue that people who are initially more hopeful are subsequently more likely to adopt this

type of coping response. Longitudinal data are needed to address this, as well as other

causal assumptions in our work. Second, only one specific coping response was examined

in our study. However, as Pargament et al. (2000) show, individuals may adopt a wide

range of coping responses when they are confronted by an unwanted stressor. Some of

these coping responses may be especially useful in research on reading sacred scriptures

(e.g., collaborative religious coping, seeking spiritual support). Clearly, examining the

relationship between reading the Bible and a full spectrum of coping responses will likely

yield much greater insight into the potential benefits of this core religious behavior.

In recent years, the theories and measures that are used in the study of religion have

become increasingly sophisticated. We applaud these efforts as long as more fundamental

aspects of religious life are not overlooked. If our study accomplishes anything, we hope it

calls attention to one of the most basic elements of involvement in virtually any faith

tradition—reading sacred scriptures.

Funding This study was funded by the John Templeton Foundation (Grant 40077).

Compliance with Ethnical Standards

Conflict of interest Neal Krause and Kenneth I. Pargament declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committees and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.



Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Arcury, T. A., Quandt, S. A., McDonald, J., & Bell, R. A. (2000). Faith and health self-management of rural older adults. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 15, 65–74.

Capps, D. (1996). The pastor as agent of hope. Currents in Theology and Mission, 23, 325–335. Ciarrocchi, J. W., Dy-Liacco, G. S., & Denke, E. (2008). Gods or rituals? Relational faith, spiritual dis-

content, and religious practices as predictors of hope and optimism. Journal of Positive Psychology, 3, 120–136.

Cohen, J., Cohen, P., West, S. G., & Aiken, L. S. (2003). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences (3rd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. J Relig Health 123

Davis, K. A., & Epkins, C. C. (2009). Do private religious practices moderate the relationship between family conflict and preadolescents’ depression and anxiety symptoms? Journal of Early Adolescence, 29, 693–717.

Fetzer Institute/National Institute on Aging Working Group. (1999). Multidimensional measurement of religiousness/spirituality for use in health research. Kalamazoo, MI: John E. Fetzer Institute.

Folkman, S. (2010). Stress, coping, and hope. Psycho-Oncology, 19, 901–908. Gerdner, L. A., Tripp-Reimer, T., & Simpson, H. C. (2007). Hard lives. God’s help and struggling through:

Caregiving in Arkansas Delta. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 22, 355–374. Hamilton, J. B., Moore, A. D., Johnson, K. A., & Koenig, H. G. (2013). Reading the Bible for guidance,

comfort, and strength during stressful life events. Nursing Research, 62, 178–184. Hood, R. W., Hill, P. C., & Spilka, B. (2009). The psychology of religion: An empirical approach (4th ed.).

New York: Guilford. Jankowski, P. J., & Sandage, S. J. (2011). Meditative prayer, hope, adult attahcment, and forgiveness: A

proposed model. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 3, 115–131. Johnson, S. D., Williams, S. L., & Pickard, J. G. (2016). Trauma, religion, and social support among African

American women. Social Work & Christianity, 43(6), 73–693. Krause, N. (2002). A comprehensive strategy for developing closed-ended survey items for use in studies of

older adults. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 57B, S263–S274. Krause, N. (2008). Aging in the church: How social relationships affect health. West Conshohocken, PA:

Templeton Foundation Press. Krause, N. (2014). Religious involvement, practical wisdom, and self-rated health. Journal of Aging and

Health, 26, 540–558. Krause, N., Ellison, C. G., Shaw, B. A., Marcum, J. P., & Boardman, J. (2001). Church-based social support

and religious coping. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 40, 637–656. Krause, N., Emmons, R. A., & Ironson, G. (2015). Benevolent images of God, gratitude, and physical health

status. Journal of Religion and Health, 54, 1503–1519. Krause, N., & Hayward, R. D. (2012). Informal support from a pastor and change in hope during late life.

Pastoral Psychology, 61, 305–318. Marquine, M. J., Maldonado, Y., Ziatar, Z., Moore, R. C., Martin, A. S., Palmer, B. W., et al. (2015).

Differences in life satisfaction among older community-dwelling Hispanics and non-Hispanic Whites. Aging & Mental Health, 19, 978–988.

Moos, R. H., Cronkite, R. C., Billings, A. G., & Finney, J. W. (1984). Health and daily living form manual. Social Ecology Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, Stanford University.

Pargament, K. I., Koenig, H. G., & Perez, L. M. (2000). The many methods of religious coping: Devel- opment and initial validation of the RCOPE. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 56, 519–543.

Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification. New York: Oxford University Press.

Poloma, M. M., & Gallup, G. H. (1991). Varieties of prayer: A survey report. Philadelphia: Trinity Press International.

Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S. (1985). Optimism, coping, and health: Assessment and Implications of generalized outcome expectancies. Health Psychology, 4, 219–247.

Snyder, C. R., Sigmon, D. R., & Feldman, D. B. (2002). Hope for the sacred and vice versa: Positive goal- directed thinking and religion. Psychological Inquiry, 13, 234–238.

Spilka, B., & Ladd, K. L. (2013). The psychology of prayer: A scientific approach. New York: Guilford. Tepper, L., Rogers, S. A., Coleman, E. M., & Malony, H. N. (2001). The prevalence of religious coping

among persons with persistent mental illness. Psychiatric Services, 52, 660–665. Vishkin, A., Bigman, Y. E., Porat, R., Solak, N., Halperin, E., & Tamir, M. (2006). God rest our hearts:

Religiosity and cognitive reappraisal. Emotion, 16, 252–262. Wuthnow, R. (1994). Sharing the journey: Support groups and America’s new quest for community. New York: Free Press. J Relig Health 123

Calculate the price
Make an order in advance and get the best price
Pages (550 words)
*Price with a welcome 15% discount applied.
Pro tip: If you want to save more money and pay the lowest price, you need to set a more extended deadline.
We know how difficult it is to be a student these days. That's why our prices are one of the most affordable on the market, and there are no hidden fees.

Instead, we offer bonuses, discounts, and free services to make your experience outstanding.
How it works
Receive a 100% original paper that will pass Turnitin from a top essay writing service
step 1
Upload your instructions
Fill out the order form and provide paper details. You can even attach screenshots or add additional instructions later. If something is not clear or missing, the writer will contact you for clarification.
Pro service tips
How to get the most out of your experience with Homework Writing Services
One writer throughout the entire course
If you like the writer, you can hire them again. Just copy & paste their ID on the order form ("Preferred Writer's ID" field). This way, your vocabulary will be uniform, and the writer will be aware of your needs.
The same paper from different writers
You can order essay or any other work from two different writers to choose the best one or give another version to a friend. This can be done through the add-on "Same paper from another writer."
Copy of sources used by the writer
Our college essay writers work with ScienceDirect and other databases. They can send you articles or materials used in PDF or through screenshots. Just tick the "Copy of sources" field on the order form.
See why 20k+ students have chosen us as their sole writing assistance provider
Check out the latest reviews and opinions submitted by real customers worldwide and make an informed decision.
Business and administrative studies
GOOD work.
Customer 463105, June 27th, 2022
Business Studies
Customer 453413, April 26th, 2020
Interior Decoration
Excellent work! We look down to your future contribution
Customer 463463, November 16th, 2022
Good work. Looking foward to future contributions.
Customer 463463, October 29th, 2022
good work
Customer 452819, September 15th, 2022
Smart response.
Customer 462457, April 13th, 2022
Excellent response.
Customer 462281, April 20th, 2022
The paper was beautifully written and exceeded my expectations. John was really helpful in ensuring that the files were attached to the order when I had issues attaching them. Thank you to the tutor and John. I was really excited that I received my paper ahead of time!
Customer 452455, March 28th, 2023
Computer science
Didn't find until the last minute that I needed to pay extra money for an extra page, which caused my stuff to be turned in late...
Customer 452515, March 25th, 2020
The article was well researched on and well written. Thank you for following the instructions. I'm very pleased with the work I received.
Customer 463869, March 20th, 2023
Awesome! Thanks
Customer 454007, June 19th, 2020
Art (Fine arts, Performing arts)
Good job.
Customer 462997, May 18th, 2022
Customer reviews in total
Current satisfaction rate
3 pages
Average paper length
Customers referred by a friend
15% OFF your first order
Use a coupon FIRST15 and enjoy expert help with any task at the most affordable price.
Claim my 15% OFF Order in Chat