Children's Religious Coping Following Residential Fires: An Exploratory Study
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Recent advancements in the general child disaster literature underscore the important role of coping in childrenâ s postdisaster adjustment. Religious coping in children, a potentially important category of coping strategies, has received little attention until recent years. Moreover, its role in the context of post fire adjustment has not been studied. The present study examined the psychometric soundness of the Religious Coping Activities Scale (RCAS; Pargament et al., 1990) in children and adolescents and explored its utility in predicting childrenâ s religious coping over time: moreover, the study evaluated its role in predicting PTSD symptomatology over an extended period of time. This investigation included 140 children and adolescents (ages 8-18). Factor analyses of the RCAS revealed a 6-factor solution very similar to the factor structure in the original study. This finding suggests that the RCAS is a promising instrument to measure childrenâ s religious coping efforts. Hypotheses concerning the prediction of childrenâ s religious coping were only partially supported. Regression analyses indicated mixed findings in terms of the contributions of selected variables to the prediction of childrenâ s Spiritually Based Coping and Religious Discontent. Overall, the regression model predicted Religious Discontent better than Spiritually Based Coping. A mixed-effects regression model and hierarchical regression analyses were both employed to examine the role of childrenâ s religious coping in predicting short-term and long-term PTSD symptomatology following the residential fires. Results from the mixed-effects regression indicated that loss, time since the fire, childâ s age, race, and race by age interaction significantly predicted childrenâ s PTSD symptoms over time. However, time specific regression analyses revealed different predictive power of the variables across the three assessment waves. Specifically, analyses with Time 1 data revealed the same findings as did the mixed-effects model, except that time since the fire was not a significant predictor in this analysis. General coping strategies appeared to be the only salient predictors for PTSD at Time 2. Finally, Religious Discontent appeared to be negatively related to PTSD at a later time.
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