1. In this study, spirituality significantly improved the individual’s ability to ruminate in a constructive manner, thereby promoting positive outcomes.

2. Furthermore, spirituality showed no relationship with the negative outcomes of trauma (e.g. intrusive rumination).

Evidence Rating Level: 3 (Average)

In the literature, higher levels of spirituality have been shown to be associated with lower levels of distress and can be seen as a source of support and guidance in the face of adversity. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of many distressing psychiatric conditions that may be mediated by positive psychological changes. In order to further evaluate the benefit of spirituality in PTSD, the objective of the present cross-sectional study was to evaluate the impact of spirituality on promoting adaptive outcomes following exposure to traumatic events (e.g. direct rumination, post-traumatic growth and intrusive rumination).

Of 241 participants who accessed the survey via internal advertisements at the University of Liverpool website, 96 (n=68.8% female) were included in the final analysis. Participants were included if they had experienced a Type I traumatic life event after 16 years old. Participants who experienced a traumatic event within the past 4 months were excluded. The survey comprised of participant demographics, the post-traumatic stress diagnostic scale, the event related rumination inventory, the post traumatic growth inventory-short form, and the revised expressions of spirituality inventory. Data was analyzed using moderation analysis and stepwise hierarchical regression analyses.

Results demonstrated that spirituality significantly improved the individual’s ability to ruminate in a constructive manner, thereby promoting positive outcomes. Furthermore, spirituality showed no relationship with the negative outcomes of trauma (e.g., intrusive rumination). Despite these findings, this study was limited as researchers did not include Type II traumas (which are more complex), thereby limiting generalization of results. Nonetheless, the study findings were significant in suggesting that spiritual beliefs may play an important role in mediating the aftermath of traumatic events.

Click to read the study in Plos One 

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