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Child Abuse Negl. 2008 Jul;32(7):711-20. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2007.09.011. Epub 2008 Jul 9.

The protective effects of religiosity on maladjustment among maltreated and nonmaltreated children.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology (0436), Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this study was to investigate the role of child religiosity in the development of maladaptation among maltreated children.

METHODS:

Data were collected on 188 maltreated and 196 nonmaltreated children from low-income families (ages 6-12 years). Children were assessed on religiosity and depressive symptoms, and were evaluated by camp counselors on internalizing symptomatology and externalizing symptomatology.

RESULTS:

Significant interactions indicated protective effects of religiosity. Child reports of the importance of faith were related to lower levels of internalizing symptomatology among maltreated girls (t=-2.81, p<.05). Child reports of attendance at religious services were associated with lower levels of externalizing symptomatology among nonmaltreated boys (t=1.94, p=.05).

CONCLUSION:

These results suggest that child religiosity may largely contribute to stress coping process among maltreated and nonmaltreated children from low-income families. The results also indicate that the protective roles of religiosity varied by risk status and gender.

PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS:

The results indicate that a range of child religiosity behaviors and practices can be assessed in translational prevention research. It is recommended that healthcare professionals, psychologists, and social workers working with maltreated children and their families assess for salience of religiosity and may encourage them to consider the role religiosity plays in the development of prevention and intervention programs to alleviate distress and enhance stress coping.

PMID:
18617264
PMCID:
PMC2568974
DOI:
10.1016/j.chiabu.2007.09.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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