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Financial Hardship and Psychological Distress: Exploring the Buffering Effects of Religion

Citation

Bradshaw, Matt & Ellison, Christopher G. (2010). Financial Hardship and Psychological Distress: Exploring the Buffering Effects of Religion. Social Science & Medicine, 71(1), 196-204. PMCID: PMC3770858

Abstract

Despite ample precedent in theology and social theory, few studies have systematically examined the role of religion in mitigating the harmful effects of socioeconomic deprivation on mental health. The present study outlines several arguments linking objective and subjective measures of financial hardship, as well as multiple aspects of religious life, with psychological distress. Relevant hypotheses are then tested using data on adults aged 18-59 from the 1998 USNORC General Social Survey. Findings confirm that both types of financial hardship are positively associated with distress, and that several different aspects of religious life buffer against these deleterious influences. Specifically, religious attendance and the belief in an afterlife moderate the deleterious effects of financial hardship on both objective and subjective financial hardship, while meditation serves this function only for objective hardship. No interactive relationships were found between frequency of prayer and financial hardship. A number of implications, study limitations, and directions for future research are identified.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.03.015

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2010

Journal Title

Social Science & Medicine

Author(s)

Bradshaw, Matt
Ellison, Christopher G.

PMCID

PMC3770858