Getting going and letting go: Religiosity fosters opportunity-congruent coping with work-related uncertainties.

Research paper by Clemens M CM Lechner, Rainer K RK Silbereisen, Martin J MJ Tomasik, Jacek J Wasilewski

Indexed on: 19 Aug '14Published on: 19 Aug '14Published in: International Journal of Psychology


This study investigated how religiosity relates to goal engagement (i.e., investing time and effort; overcoming obstacles) and goal disengagement (i.e., protecting self-esteem and motivational resources against failure experiences; distancing from unattainable goals) in coping with perceived work-related uncertainties (e.g., growing risk of job loss) that arise from current social change. We hypothesised that religiosity not only expands individuals' capacities for both engagement and disengagement but also fosters an opportunity-congruent pattern of engagement and disengagement, promoting engagement especially under favourable opportunities for goal-striving in the social ecology and facilitating disengagement especially under unfavourable opportunities. Multilevel analyses in a sample of N = 2089 Polish adults aged 20-46 years partly supported these predictions. Religiosity was associated with higher goal engagement, especially under favourable economic opportunities for goal-striving in the social ecology (as measured by the regional net migration rate). For disengagement, the results were more mixed; religiosity was related to higher self-protection independently of the economic opportunity structure and predicted higher goal-distancing only under the most unfavourable opportunities. These results suggest that religiosity can promote different coping strategies under different conditions, fostering a pattern of opportunity-congruent engagement and, to some extent, disengagement that is likely to be adaptive.