Locus of control and spiritual meaning as mediators of relations among religious orientation and anxious symptomatology and depressive symptomatology
Wiley, Elizabeth Stirling
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Growth in research on the psychology of religion is contributing to a greater understanding of the impact of religious variables on mental health. The purpose of the current project was to examine how religious orientation (RO), locus of control (LOC), and spiritual meaning (SM) relate to anxious symptoms (AS) and depressive symptoms (DS) in a college sample. Specifically, locus of control (LOC) and spiritual meaning (SM) were hypothesized to mediate the relations between RO and AS and DS. The sample analyzed consisted of 401 undergraduate students who were primarily Caucasian and Christian. Correlational analyses, mediated regression analyses, and moderated regression analyses were used to examine the hypotheses. Because gender differences are noted in the literature when examining the relations between RO and mental health variables and were also found in the present study, gender was controlled in all analyses. In the current study, females had lower levels of internal LOC (ILOC) and chance LOC (CLOC) and higher levels of God LOC (GLOC), AS, and SM than males. Many mediational hypotheses were supported. SM mediated the relations between intrinsic religiousness (IRO) and AS and between IRO and DS. SM partially mediated the relation between extrinsic religious orientation (ERO) and AS. ILOC was not found to mediate the relations between RO and AS or between RO and DS. Powerful others LOC (PO LOC) mediated the relation between IRO and AS. PO LOC partially mediated the relations between ERO and AS, between quest religiousness (QRO) and AS, between IRO and DS, and between QRO and DS. CLOC mediated the relations between IRO and AS, between ERO and AS, between QRO and AS, and between QRO and DS. CLOC partially mediated the relation between IRO and DS. GLOC partially mediated the relation between QRO and DS. Social desirability was examined as moderating the relations between RO and AS and between RO and DS. Social desirability was found to moderate the relation between ERO and DS. In sum, LOC and SM were found to mediate relations between RO and AS and DS. Social desirability moderated the relation between ERO and DS.