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JPSYCH Research Studies

 

 

 

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Since its inception, nearly 3000 individuals from across the globe have participated in JPSYCH's empirical studies of religiousness and psychological variables. Data collected from JPSYCH studies has enabled researchers and clinicians in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Israel to better understand the role of Jewish religiousness in affective states. Below are some of the findings of previous JPSYCH research.

Papers

Citation: Pirutinsky, S., Rosmarin, D.H., & Pargament, K. I. (manuscript invited for revision and resubmitting). Community attitudes towards culture bound and non-culture bound symptoms of OCD among Orthodox Jews. Journal of Community Psychology.
Abstract: Culture may particularly influence community attitudes towards mental illness, when the illness itself is shaped by a cultural context. To explore the influence of culture-specific, religious symptoms on Orthodox Jewish community attitudes, we compared the attitudes of one hundred and sixty-nine Orthodox Jews who randomly viewed one of two vignettes describing either religious or non-religious Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Results indicate that while participants were equally likely to perceive both vignettes as mental illness, they were less likely to endorse biological explanatory models and psychological/medical help-seeking, and conversely more likely to endorse socio-religious explanations, religious help-seeking, and stigma in relation to religious OCD. Nevertheless, biological models and psychological/medical help-seeking were preferred for both religious and non-religious OCD. Beyond implications for Orthodox Jewish community actions, these findings suggest that attitudes towards mental illness may depend on how symptoms relate to community culture.

Citation: Rosmarin, D.H., Pirutinsky, S., Pargament, K. I., & Krumrei, E. J. (in press). Are religious beliefs relevant to mental health among Jews? Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.
Abstract:
While considerable evidence has linked religious beliefs to mental health among Protestant Christians, previous theory and research has emphasized that practices play a more important role than beliefs for Jews. Beliefs about God’s benevolence may be salient for Orthodox Jews however, as such beliefs are central to traditional Jewish doctrine. Two studies were conducted to compare the extent to which religious beliefs predicted depression and anxiety for Orthodox Jews, non-Orthodox Jews and Protestants. Results indicated that beliefs were salient for Orthodox Jews and Protestants, and less relevant for non-Orthodox Jews. Among Orthodox Jews, religious beliefs remained a significant predictor of anxiety and depression after controlling for religious practices. Implications for clinical treatment of Jewish individuals are explored.
pdfPaper: Click Here - This is a pre-peer reviewed version of this article which will be published in final form in the coming months. Please contact David H. Rosmarin for prints.

Citation: Rosmarin, D.H., Pargament, K.I., & Flannelly, K.J. (in press). Do spiritual struggles predict poorer physical/mental health among Jews? International Journal for the Psychology of Religion.
Abstract: While spirituality and religion are generally associated with higher levels of physical and mental wellbeing, spiritual struggles, which involve tension in regard to spiritual issues, have been identified as a risk factor for poorer physical and mental health, especially among individuals with greater levels of personal religiousness. However, studies in this area have utilized predominantly Christian samples and the importance of spiritual struggles to Jews is not known. We proposed and tested two competing models in an adult Jewish community sample: (1) The Universal Effects model in which spiritual struggles were proposed to be associated with decreased levels of physical/mental health, and are more problematic for more religious Jews; and (2) The Differential Effects model in which spiritual struggles were proposed to be generally unrelated to the physical/mental health of Jews, and even less impactful on religious Jews. We found some support for both models. Spiritual struggles were modestly associated with lower levels of physical/mental health in the sample as a whole, even after controlling for demographic covariates. However, at the highest levels of spiritual struggle, Orthodox Jews exhibited an increase in physical and mental health whereas non-Orthodox Jews’ health continued to decrease.
pdfPaper: Click Here - This is a pre-peer reviewed version of this article which will be published in final form in the coming months. Please contact David H. Rosmarin for prints.

Citation: Rosmarin, D.H., Krumrei, E.J., & Pargament, K.I. (in press). Do gratitude and spirituality predict psychological distress? International Journal of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy.
Abstract: Anxiety and depression are common responses to trauma and bereavement. However, gratitude and spirituality may be helpful to individuals experiencing anxiety and depression in response to a loss, and therefore empirical investigation into the links between these variables is warranted. This study investigated the relationships between gratitude, spiritual/religious variables, anxiety and depression across multiple religious groups. Two independent samples consisting of n = 120 Christians (Catholic, Mainline Protestant, Evangelical Protestant and Morman) and n = 234 Jews (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Other) were recruited. Measures of gratitude, general religiousness, religious practices, and positive core beliefs about God (trust in God) were administered alongside measures of trait anxiety and depression. Statistically significant correlations emerged between all variables, suggesting that gratitude and spirituality are related to lower levels of anxiety and depression.
pdfPaper: Click Here - This is a preprint of an article whose final and definitive form will be published in the International Journal of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy. The International Journal of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy is available online at http://www.meaning.ca/ijepp.htm

Citation: Rosmarin, D.H., Pargament, K.I, Krumrei, E.J. & Flannelly, K.J. (2009). Religious coping among Jews: Development and initial validation of the JCOPE. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65, 1-14.
Abstract: Numerous studies have underscored the importance of religious coping in psychological health and illness, however the majority of research in this area has been conducted with Christian samples and knowledge about other religious groups is lacking. While recent investigations have developed scales to measure religious coping among Hindus and Muslims, the potential for future research in Jewish populations remains limited as no measures of religious coping have been validated in the general Jewish community. This two-part study reports on the development and validation of the 16-item Jewish Religious Coping Scale (JCOPE). In Study 1, an exploratory factor analysis identified two factors reflecting positive and negative religious coping strategies, and the concurrent validity for the measure was evaluated by examining correlations with indices of Jewish beliefs and practices. In Study 2, a confirmatory factor analysis verified the JCOPE’s two factor structure, and the scale’s incremental validity was evaluated by examining Jewish religious coping as a predictor of psychological distress over and above significant covariates. Results suggest that the JCOPE has good psychometric properties, and that religious coping is a significant predictor of psychological distress among Jews.
pdfPaper:
Click Here - This is a pre-peer reviewed version of this article which will be published in final form at http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/31171/home. Please contact David H. Rosmarin for prints.

Citation: Rosmarin, D.H., Krumrei, E.J. & Andersson, G. (2009). Religion as a predictor of psychological distress in two religious communities. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 38(1), 54-64.
Abstract: While spirituality and religion play a role in the lives of many North Americans, the relationship of these variables to symptoms of affective disorders has not been rigorously studied. We therefore evaluated the extent to which religious factors predicted symptoms of distress in a large community sample of n = 354 individuals (n = 120 Christian and n = 234 Jewish). Results indicated that religious denomination was a poor predictor of distress. However, general religiousness (e.g., importance of religion), religious practices (e.g., frequency of prayer), and positive religious core beliefs predicted lower levels of worry, trait anxiety and depressive symptoms, whereas negative religious core beliefs predicted increased symptoms. These variables accounted for a small but significant portion of the variance in reported symptoms after controlling for covariates. These findings are taken to indicate that religion is an important factor to consider when evaluating and treating distress in religious individuals. Implications for clinical practice of empirically supported treatments with religious individuals are explored.
pdfPaper: Click Here - This is a preprint of an article whose final and definitive form will been published in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Taylor & Francis; Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is available online at: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/16506073.html

Citation: Rosmarin, D.H., Pargament, K.I., & Mahoney, A. (2009). The role of religiousness in anxiety, depression and happiness in a Jewish community sample: A preliminary investigation. Mental Health Religion and Culture, 12(2), 97-113.
Abstract: Although social scientists have convincingly demonstrated relationships between religious beliefs/practices and mental health, almost none of the empirical findings or related theory apply specifically to Jews. To address this limitation, we investigated the role of Jewish religiousness in anxiety, depression and happiness, in a large Jewish community sample (n = 565). Several facets of global Jewish religiousness were examined, as well as a theoretically based Jewish religious variable, trust in God. A self-report measure of trust in God was created and factor analyses yielded two reliable and valid subscales: trust in God and mistrust in God. Contrary to our hypotheses, global Jewish religiousness was on the whole unrelated to mental health functioning. As expected, higher levels of trust in God were associated with less anxiety and depression, and greater personal happiness, whereas inverse associations emerged for the unanticipated but robust mistrust subscale.
pdfPaper: Click Here - This is a preprint of an article whose final and definitive form will been published in Mental Health Religion and Culture. Taylor & Francis; Mental Health Religion and Culture is available online at: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/carfax/13674676.html

Posters and Presentations

Citation: Rosmarin, D.H., Pargament, K.I., Krumrei, E.J., & O’Brien, W.O. (2009, April). Religious vs. demographic predictors of depression in two religious communities. Poster to be presented at the meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, Montreal, Que.
Abstract: A recent search of the literature located over 620 articles on the topic of religion and depression (Rosmarin, Pargament, & Mahoney, in press). In general, religious beliefs and practices have been associated with lower levels of depression, however the overall relationship of religious factors to depression appears to be relatively low (Smith, McCullough, & Poll, 2003). Thus, it is possible that religion is no more predictive than common demographic factors, and that the extant literature has overemphasized the importance of religion in depressive symptomatology. We therefore sought to compare the extent to which religious and demographic variables each predicted clinical levels of depression in two religious communities. A community-based sample of n = 234 Jewish and n = 120 Christian individuals was recruited for participation in an on-line survey. Survey items measured demographic factors (age, gender, highest level of education, income, current employment, and number of children), religious beliefs and practices (belief in God, importance of religion, and frequency of prayer, religious service attendance and religious study), and depression (measured by the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale; CES-D; Radloff, 1977). The sample was split into depressed and non-depressed groups using a clinical cut-off of 16 on the CES-D (Nezu, Ronan, Meadows & McClure, 2000). Between-group comparisons of religious and demographic factors were conducted. Surprisingly, there were no significant between-group differences observed for any of the demographic items (F’s ranging from .07 to 2.3, ns). By contrast, significant between-group differences were observed for all of the religious items (F’s ranging from 4.0 to 17.0, p’s ranging from .05 to .005) such that lower levels of depression were associated with higher levels of religious involvement. This finding suggests that in religious communities, religious factors may be of greater salience to depression than demographic factors.
pdfPoster: Click Here

Citation: Rosmarin, D.H., Pirutinsky, S., Pargament, K.I., & Krumrei, E.J. (2009, February). Do religious doctrine and culture moderate the relationship between beliefs and distress? Poster to be presented at the meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.
Abstract: A substantial body of research has indicated that religiousness and spirituality are associated with mental health and illness. Yet, it is also recognized that beliefs may have varying salience and impact among different religious groups. For example, while American Protestantism is an exemplar of an “assent” religion in which membership is determined by individual agreement to a set of shared truths, Judaism is a “descent” religion in which ethnic heritage and shared communal life define membership. Consistent with this doctrinal dichotomy, there is considerable evidence to suggest that Protestants imbue mental states (e.g., religious beliefs) with greater significance than Jews, who conversely stress communal participation and religious practices. Nonetheless, beliefs about God’s benevolence may be salient for Orthodox Jews, as they are central to traditional Jewish doctrine and culture. We therefore compared the extent to which religious beliefs predicted depression and anxiety among Orthodox Jews, non-Orthodox Jews and Protestants. Three hundred and thirty one individuals (141 Orthodox Jews, 93 non-Orthodox Jews, and 97 Protestants) completed an internet based questionnaire measuring religious beliefs, religious practices, depression and anxiety. Results indicated that beliefs were associated with decreased levels of distress among Orthodox Jews and Protestants, but were not tied to distress for non-Orthodox Jews. Among Orthodox Jews, religious beliefs remained a significant predictor of anxiety and depression after controlling for religious practices. These findings suggest that specific culture-based doctrine of religious groups must be considered when conducting social and personality psychology research in this area of study.
pdfPoster:
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Citation: Rosmarin, D.H., Pargament, K.I., & Robb, H. (2008, November). Do they work? The current status of clinical trials of spiritually-integrated treatments. In Rosmarin, D.H. (Chair), Spirituality and Religion: Are they really relevant to psychopathology and treatment? Symposium presented at the meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Orlando, FL.
Abstract
: In recognition of the need to provide religious communities with culturally appropriate psychotherapeutic services, as well as considerable evidence suggesting that religion can be a resource for people in times of stress (Pargament, 1997), several spiritually-integrated interventions have been created in recent years. These interventions draw on religious resources in the process of treatment (Pargament, 2007). Much like conventional therapies, existing spiritually-integrated interventions have targeted various problems including addictions (Avants, Beitel & Margolin, 2005), sexual abuse (Murray-Swank & Pargament, 2005), social anxiety (McCorkle, Bohn, Hughes & Kim, 2005) and physical and psychological wellbeing among cancer patients (Cole, 2005). Over the past decade, a number of research teams have conducted randomized and controlled evaluations of spiritually-integrated treatments (e.g. Propst, Ostrom, Watkins, Dean & Mashburn, 1992; Wachholtz & Pargament, 2005; Rye et al., 2005; Wachholtz & Pargament, Submitted Manuscript; Oman, Hedberg & Thoresen, 2006), and these early results seem promising. Moreover, a meta-analysis of 5 studies comparing the efficacy of spiritually-integrated psychotherapy to conventional treatments found spiritually-based approaches to be equally effective as cognitive therapies in reducing depressive symptomatology (McCullough, 1999). This area of programmatic research does have a number of serious limitations, however. For example, no spiritually-integrated interventions for the Jewish population have been developed or evaluated to date, and the range of disorders targeted by spiritually-based approaches is comparatively narrow (only a single spiritually-integrated treatment, McCorkle et al, 200, has targeted an anxiety-spectrum problem). Furthermore, the mechanisms by which spiritually-integrated treatments are helpful are often unclear. Nevertheless, research in this burgeoning area serves a vital role in that it has helped to make empirically-supported treatments available and appealing to religious populations. This presentation will review the findings from the handful of existing open and randomized controlled trials of spiritually-integrated treatments that have been conducted to date and highlight potential areas for future research to build upon this foundation.
pdfPresentation Slides:
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Citation: Rosmarin, D.H., Siev, J., Pargament, K.I., & Mahoney, M. (2008, November). Anxiety and Depression among Orthodox Jews: Links to Religious Core Beliefs and Practices. Poster presented at the meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Orlando, FL.
Abstract:The cognitive model of emotion states that core beliefs about oneself, others and the world influence situation-specific automatic thoughts which, in turn, influence emotions (Beck, 1995). For religious individuals, however, core beliefs may take on specific religious themes that are congruent with ethnic and cultural values. For example, positive or negative beliefs about the nature of the Divine may, for religious individuals, engender situation-specific appraisals which engender emotional states. Additionally, common religious practices may too be linked to emotional states. Using archival data from a recent investigation with a large Jewish community sample, this study will examine the degree to which positive and negative core beliefs about God and common religious practices predict levels of anxiety and depression in a sample of Orthodox Jewish individuals (Modern Orthodox, Yeshiva Orthodox, & Hassidic). It is hoped that the results of this inquiry will be helpful to practitioners of evidence-based treatments who service this population.
pdfPoster: Click Here

Manuscripts in Preparation

Rosmarin, D.H., Pirutinsky, S., & Siev, J. (2009). Do Orthodox and Non-Orthodox Jews appraise symptoms of scrupulosity as psychopathology?


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