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Abstract

In times of disaster, religion is said to be a powerful resource of meaning-focused coping. If offers motifs, symbols, and stories to reappraise situations and thereby ascribe meaning to them. Aside from religion, in modern times secular resources are feasible for meaning making during disaster as well. Empirical instruments that assess both religious and secular types of meaning-focused coping, however, are not available. Relevant instruments focus exclusively on either religious or secular coping. This paper addresses this desideratum by supplementing the RCOPE-scales of reappraisal with relevant scales of secular reappraisal. Three scales – Trust in Science, Consequences of Lifestyle, and Reappraisal of Science’s Power – have been constructed and tested on a sample of university students and staff members coping with the Corona pandemic. CFA shows a satisfactory fit for the supplementing instrument when Trust in Science is removed from the analysis. Correlation analysis with scales of religiosity (Centrality of Religiosity and Post-Critical Belief) indicates a good external validity of the new instrument. In consequence, the two supplements of Consequences of Lifestyle and Reappraisal of Science’s Power facilitate assessment of secular meaning-focused coping aside with relevant religious coping, while the Trust in Science Reappraisal scale needs further development.

Full Access
In: Journal of Empirical Theology

Abstract

Differences in race, ethnic origin, gender, belief and worldview, disability and chronic disease, age, and sexual orientation must not be a reason for discriminating against people. Non-discrimination is enshrined as a fundamental right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in numerous subsequent documents and in the constitutions of democratic states. Also the major religions are hostile to discriminatory distinctions. Among the groups that repeatedly experience discrimination are, on the one hand, women, who have to put up with disadvantages even in countries that advocate equality. Secondly, they include people with a homosexual orientation, who sometimes have to endure open rejection. This research uses a sample of N=5363 from 10 countries to examine the attitudes of young people about non-discrimination. Specifically, it asks whether religious belonging and the country of origin show any impact on this attitude, and whether the religiosity of respondents moderates the influence of religion and country. The empirical findings show that discrimination against women is rejected, but with differences between religious groups and countries. Homosexuality is seen more controversially and there is no uniform rejection of discrimination against homosexuals. However, depending on religious affiliation and national context, individual religiosity can have positive and negative effects on the rejection of discrimination.

In: Journal of Empirical Theology
In: Freedom of Religion in the 21st Century

Abstract

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is studied among Dutch and German university students and staff, at the inception of the pandemic in April 2020. The effects of conditions of study and work are studied on mental health, while taking into account the adaptive function of meaning and controlling for relevant demographic characteristics. Results indicate that negative experiences of study and work affect various dimensions of mental health and differ for Dutch and German university contexts. Meaning acts as a resource for mental health, especially regarding dimensions of meaningfulness and trust. Programs for university care are called for in which the insights of this study are taken into account.

Open Access
In: Journal of Empirical Theology