Religious meaning-making at the community level: The forced relocation from the Gaza Strip

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The purpose of the current study was to describe the process of religious coping in a religious community that underwent a forced relocation. Whereas previous work on meaning-making processes has looked at individuals, we sought to understand what happens to the process of religious coping when an entire community experiences a shared stressful event. Using Park's (2005) model of religion as a meaning-making framework, we analyzed open-ended narratives of 230 former residents of Gush Katif who wrote about the ways in which they coped with their relocation, 8 to 10 months after it took place. The primary finding was that participants referred to the impact of the relocation on their religious beliefs and referred to it not only as individuals but also, and perhaps mostly, as members of a community. Analyzing the content of these answers revealed four pathways of religious coping: resilient (no change in religious belief), strengthening of belief, weakening of belief, and open crisis. The findings suggest that in collective events, and especially in communities, meaning-making processes take place at both individual and collective levels. We discuss the findings in light of existing theories of religious coping. (PsycINFO Database Record

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-71
Number of pages8
JournalPsychology of Religion and Spirituality
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Collective trauma
  • Forced relocation
  • Meaning-making
  • Religious coping


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