A model of trauma with spirituality and religiosity: The mediating and moderating effects of personal growth initiative and openness to experience



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Texas Tech University


Spirituality and religiosity remain two diversity variables that are little studied in relation to mental health. Researchers and theorists in the area of trauma have proposed conflicting effects of trauma on spirituality and religiosity Although some studies show that spirituality and/or religiosity increase following the experience of a traumatic event, other studies show a decrease. Therefore this study proposed that there are two intervening variables in these relationships: Personal Growth Initiative (PGI) and Openness to Experience (OTE). Personal Growth Initiative is the active seeking out of self-growth experiences Openness to Experience refers to the individual's receptiveness and valuing of diversity of ideas and experiences This study tested whether these intervening variables mediated or moderated the relationship between trauma and spirituality or trauma and religiosity. The following measures were used: The Traumatic Experience Questionnaire (Vrana & Lauterbach, 1994), The Spiritual Experience Index (Genia, 1997), Religious Commitment Inventory (McCullogh. Worthington, Maxey. & Rechal. 1997), the Personal Growth Initiate e Scale (Robitschek, 1998), and the Openness to Experience Scale of the NEO-PI (Costa & McCrae, 1992) Participants were 249 undergraduate students in psychology courses. Results indicated that only two models of moderation were partially supported. For men, when trauma was viewed as a dichotomous variable, the interaction between the presence of trauma and Openness to Experience did appear to explain significant additional variance in Spirituality However, further examination revealed that this was likely an artifact of the low number of men who reported having experienced no traumatic events. For women, the interaction between Total Perceived Trauma and Openness to Experience appeared to explain significant additional variance in Spirituality A median split analysis suggested that the interaction is happening in such a way that in order to obtain a high score on Spirituality, both Openness to Experience as well as Total Perceived Trauma must also be high. Significant gender differences were found in the relationships between some of the variables



Religiousness, Self-actualization (Psychology), Personality -- Religious aspects, Spirituality, Psychic trauma, Psychology and religion