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Journal Article


Leo D, Izadikhah Z, Fein EC, Forooshani SA. Trauma Violence Abuse 2019; ePub(ePub): ePub.


School of Psychology and Counselling, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


(Copyright © 2019, SAGE Publishing)






INTRODUCTION:: Empirical research has shown that religious beliefs support people recovering from traumatic experiences. However, there is relatively little research on the inversion of this dynamic, the way that trauma changes a person's religious beliefs. The authors of this article conducted a structured literature review and meta-analysis of published quantitative and qualitative literature related to the effects of interpersonal trauma on religious beliefs in adults. Their aims were to determine whether religious beliefs act as cognitive schemas, to support or reject the "shattered assumptions" hypothesis, and to assess whether post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms have an additive effect on changing beliefs.

METHOD:: Five academic databases were searched using permutations of the key words: Religion, Trauma, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The resulting references were compared to predetermined inclusion/exclusion criteria, and the reference lists of these papers were also searched for additional matches. Included papers were then subjected to a meta-analysis.

RESULTS:: Five quantitative, two qualitative, and two mixed-methodologies papers were matched. Aggravated analyzes confirmed the hypothesized effect ( r =.19, p <.05).

CONCLUSIONS:: The reviewed literature suggests that most people do not change their religious beliefs after a trauma but significant changes occur for a smaller proportion of people-either increasing or decreasing their religious beliefs. These effects are greatest for people who develop PTSD. This review supports the shattered assumptions hypothesis of Janoff-Bulman, explains the cognitive mechanisms of change, and proposes a model for the additive effects of PTSD.

Language: en


PTSD; SLR; meta-analysis; religion; schema; shattered assumptions; structured literature review; trauma


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