The current research was designed to examine associations of perceived life threat (PLT) and religious coping with the development of avoidance behavior following terror event exposure. Based upon the terror management theory (TMT), we hypothesized that religious coping, through its effect on religious beliefs as a meaning system, would moderate the impact of threat, as expressed in PLT, on an individual's reaction to terror event exposure, as manifested in avoidance behavior. Participants were 591 Israeli Jewish students who were vicariously or directly exposed to a terror event in the past. We report a significant interaction between PLT and negative religious coping. PLT was positively associated with avoidance behavior but this relationship was more profound among persons who reported high negative religious coping. Secular students reported higher rates of avoidance behavior and negative religious coping and were more likely than religious students to report intrapersonal religious conflict. Our findings suggest that terror event exposure is associated with an elevated sense of threat, which is, at least in part, associated with a weakening of prior religious beliefs.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
- avoidance behaviors
- perceived life threat
- religious coping
- terror event exposure
- terror management theory