Does God Matter? Religious Content and the Evaluation of Comforting Messages in the Context of Bereavement

Kristi Wilkum, Erina L. MacGeorge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many people use religious belief and practice as a resource for coping with distress. However, the influence of religious content in comforting messages has yet to be examined. The current study was designed to examine how comforting messages that vary in person centeredness and incorporate different kinds of religious content are evaluated by people who vary in intrinsic religiosity and styles of religious coping. College students (N = 312) were asked to imagine that a grandparent had died and to evaluate the perceived quality of comforting messages representing different levels of person centeredness and types of religious content. They also completed measures of intrinsic religiosity and religious coping style. Results indicate not only a preference for messages with deferring religious content (in which God is described as responsible for helping the individual cope with the loss) but also variation in evaluation as a function of intrinsic religiosity and religious coping style.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-745
Number of pages23
JournalCommunication Research
Volume37
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 19 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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