Dealing with negative life events: The effect of individual and collective religious participation and religious coping on mental and physical health in Muslims
Research in the area of coping and stress has revealed that the use of religious coping has significant beneficial implications on mental and physical well-being. Studies with Judeo-Christian groups have consistently found greater psychological and medical health among churchgoers and individuals who pray frequently. Because there is little research on other religious groups, the present study examines the effect of religious coping and collective/individual religious activity participation on mental/physical health in Muslims. A sample of 117 Muslims residing in the United States and India were recruited mainly from religious venues. Participants filled out religious/non-religious coping instruments (i.e., RCOPE and WOC-R), and psychological/physical health measures (i.e., by the GHQ-12, and HS-36). Linear model analyses consistently highlighted an inverse relationship between negative religious coping and mental health, while collective prayer was positively associated. Less robust findings included a positive correlation between individual prayer participation and positive religious coping, and mental health. Physical health was not positively related to religious coping or participation in religious activity.