The many methods of religious coping: development and initial validation of the RCOPE

J Clin Psychol. 2000 Apr;56(4):519-43. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-4679(200004)56:4<519::aid-jclp6>;2-1.


The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a new theoretically based measure that would assess the full range of religious coping methods, including potentially helpful and harmful religious expressions. The RCOPE was tested on a large sample of college students who were coping with a significant negative life event. Factor analysis of the RCOPE in the college sample yielded factors largely consistent with the conceptualization and construction of the subscales. Confirmatory factor analysis of the RCOPE in a large sample of hospitalized elderly patients was moderately supportive of the initial factor structure. Results of regression analyses showed that religious coping accounted for significant unique variance in measures of adjustment (stress-related growth, religious outcome, physical health, mental health, and emotional distress) after controlling for the effects of demographics and global religious measures (frequency of prayer, church attendance, and religious salience). Better adjustment was related to a number of coping methods, such as benevolent religious reappraisals, religious forgiveness/purification, and seeking religious support. Poorer adjustment was associated with reappraisals of God's powers, spiritual discontent, and punishing God reappraisals. The results suggest that the RCOPE may be useful to researchers and practitioners interested in a comprehensive assessment of religious coping and in a more complete integration of religious and spiritual dimensions in the process of counseling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Counseling
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / psychology
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ohio
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / standards*
  • Psychometrics
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sampling Studies
  • Students / psychology