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Soc Ment Health. 2013 Mar;3(1):40-58.

Racial Differences in Effects of Religiosity and Mastery on Psychological Distress: Evidence from National Longitudinal Data.

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  • 1Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH, USA.


This research engages nationally representative longitudinal data and a multipopulation LISREL model to investigate variation among black and white Americans in the impact of religiosity and mastery on psychological distress. Guided by the stress and coping perspective and prominent theorizing about how religiosity influences mental health, the model assesses not only direct effects of religiosity and mastery on distress but also the possibility of religiosity and mastery inhibiting distress indirectly (via effects on other coping resources or stressors) and attenuating the distress-inducing properties of individual stressors. Findings solidly support the endorsed proposition of religiosity's being particularly beneficial to blacks' emotional well-being and moderately support the prediction of mastery's being primarily helpful to whites'. Public religiosity substantially eclipses private and subjective religiosity as a facilitator of blacks' emotional well-being, and although main effects dominate, there are significant mediation and moderation effects of religiosity or mastery within each race.


coping; distress; mastery; race/ethnicity; religion

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