The Role of Religious Involvement in the Relationship Between Early Trauma and Health Outcomes Among Adult Survivors

Katia G. Reinert, Jacquelyn C. Campbell, Karen Bandeen-Roche, Jerry W. Lee, Sarah Szanton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The purpose of this study was to determine the role of religious involvement and related indicators - religious coping, intrinsic religiosity, forgiveness and gratitude - in reducing the negative impact of early traumatic stress on the mental and physical health of adult survivors. Multiple linear regressions were used to analyze self-reported data of 10,283 Seventh-day Adventist men and women across North America. The study also included an original analysis on a subsample (n = 496) of the larger group, examining diabetes risk factors in conjunction with Adverse Childhood Events (ACE) data. Higher early trauma scores were associated with decreased mental health (B = −1.93 p .0001) and physical health (B = −1.53, p .0001). The negative effect of early trauma on mental health was reduced by intrinsic religiosity (B =.52, p =.011), positive religious coping (B =.61, p =.025), forgiveness (B =.32 p =.025), and gratitude (B =.87 p =.001). Adult survivors of early trauma experienced worse mental and physical health; however, forgiveness, gratitude, positive religious coping, and intrinsic religiosity were protective against poor mental health. The findings support a holistic perspective in the care of childhood trauma survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-241
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Trauma
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016



  • Abuse
  • Child abuse
  • Family violence
  • Forgiveness
  • Gratitude
  • Religious coping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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