Religiosity, attributions for child sexual abuse, and adult mental health
Zinzow, Heidi Marie
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The purpose of this study was to determine how religious beliefs and practices affect the attributions that individuals make regarding child sexual abuse, and thereby explain variability in adult psychological symptomatology (PTSD, depression, and overall symptomatology). Participants were 183 female undergraduates with a history of child sexual abuse. Three hypotheses were examined: a) religious beliefs would be associated with internal attributions for abuse, b) religious salience would moderate the relationship between religious beliefs and attributions, and c) attributions would mediate the relationship between religiosity and adult psychological symptomatology. Results of regression analyses indicated partial support for the last two hypotheses. Religious salience in the family-of-origin moderated the relationship between fundamentalist beliefs and internal attributions for abuse. Attributions played a mediating role in the relationship between the fundamentalism by religious salience interaction and psychological outcomes (PTSD, overall symptomatology). Research and practice implications are discussed.