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Stress, Religious-Based Coping, And Physical Health

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter the author takes a modest step toward advancing theory on religion, stress and physical health. This is accomplished by examining the conceptual underpinnings of a select set of religious coping resources. In the process, an effort is made to show how the theoretical foundations of these coping resources can be sharpened and extended. In order to reach this goal, three main issues are examined: First, problems in defining stress are identified and different types of stressors are identified. The discussion reveals that religion may be best suited for dealing with some kinds of stressors, but not others. Second, select religious coping resources that are thought to offset the pernicious effects of stress on health are discussed. Theoretical advances and conceptual shortcomings are explored for each resource. Third, several unresolved or unexamined issues are identified that may help move the literature forward.

Keywords: physical health; religious coping resources; stress



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