Religious Coping Methods (RCOPE )

RCOPE Subscales and Items and Definitions of Religious Coping Methods
Pargament‚ Smith‚ Koenig‚ & Perez‚ 1999& 2000
Religious Methods of Coping to Find Meaning
Brief RCOPE Items
Positive Religious/Spiritual Coping Subscale
1. I think about how my life is part of a larger spiritual force (Search for SpiritualConnection).*
2. I work together with God as partners to get through hard times (CollaborativeReligious Coping).*
3. I look to God for strength‚ support‚ and guidance in crises (Seeking SpiritualSupport).*
4. I try to find the lesson from God in crises (Benevolent Religious Appraisal).
5. I confess my sins and ask for God’s forgiveness (Ritual Purification).
Negative Religious/Spiritual Coping Subscale
1. I feel that stressful situations are God’s way of punishing me for my sins or lack of spirituality (Punishing God Reappraisal).*
2. I wonder whether God has abandoned me (Spiritual Discontent).*
3. I try to make sense of the situation and decide what to do without relying on God (Self-Directed Religious Coping).*
4. I question whether God really exists (Religious Doubts).
5. I express anger at God for letting terrible things happen (Anger at God).
1 – A great deal‚ 2 – Quite a bit‚ 3 – Somewhat‚ 4 – Not at all
Overall Religious/Spiritual Coping Item
To what extent is your religion involved in understanding or dealing with stressful situations in any way?*
1 – Very involved‚ 2 – Somewhat involved‚ 3 – Not very involved‚ 4 – Not involved at all
* Items at short form
RCOPE Subscales and Items
Religious Methods of Coping to Find Meaning
Benevolent Religious Reappraisal—redefining the stressor through religion as benevolent and potentially beneficial
*1. Saw my situation as part of God’s plan.
*2. Tried to find a lesson from God in the event.
*3. Tried to see how God might be trying to strengthen me in this situation.
4. Thought that the event might bring me closer to God.
5. Tried to see how the situation could be beneficial spiritually.
Punishing God Reappraisal—redefining the stressor as a punishment from God for the individual’s sins
*1. Wondered what I did for God to punish me.
*2. Decided that God was punishing me for my sins.
*3. Felt punished by God for my lack of devotion.
4.Wondered if God allowed this event to happen to me because of my sins.
5.Wondered whether God was punishing me because of my lack of faith.
Demonic Reappraisal—redefining the stressor as the act of the Devil
*1. Believed the Devil was responsible for my situation.
*2. Felt the situation was the work of the Devil.
3. Felt the Devil was trying to turn me away from God.
*4. Decided the Devil made this happen.
5. Wondered if the Devil had anything to do with this situation.
Reappraisal of God’s Powers—redefining God’s power to influence the stressful situation
*1. Questioned the power of God.
*2. Thought that some things are beyond God’s control.
*3. Realized that God cannot answer all of my prayers.
4. Realized that there were some things that even God could not change.
5. Felt that even God has limits.
Religious/Spiritual Methods of Coping to Gain Control
Collaborative Religious Coping—seeking control through a partnership with God in problem solving
*1. Tried to put my plans into action together with God.
*2. Worked together with God as partners.
*3. Tried to make sense of the situation with God.
4. Felt that God was working right along with me.
5. Worked together with God to relieve my worries.
Active Religious Surrender—an active giving up of control to God in coping
*1. Did my best and then turned the situation over to God.
*2. Did what I could and put the rest in God’s hands.
*3. Took control over what I could‚ and gave the rest up to God.
4. Tried to do the best I could and let God do the rest.
5. Turned the situation over to God after doing all that I could.
Passive Religious Deferral—passive waiting for God to control the situation
*1. Didn’t do much‚ just expected God to solve my problems for me.
*2. Didn’t try much of anything; simply expected God to take control.
*3. Didn’t try to cope; only expected God to take my worries away.
4. Knew that I couldn’t handle the situation‚ so I just expected God to take control.
5. Didn’t try to do much; just assumed God would handle it.
Pleading for Direct Intercession—seeking control indirectly by pleading to God for a miracle or divine intercession
*1. Pleaded with God to make things turn out okay.
*2. Prayed for a miracle.
*3. Bargained with God to make things better.
4. Made a deal with God so that he would make things better.
5. Pleaded with God to make everything work out.
Self-Directing Religious Coping—seeking control directly through individual initiative rather than help from God
*1. Tried to deal with my feelings without God’s help.
*2. Tried to make sense of the situation without relying on God.
*3. Made decisions about what to do without God’s help.
4. Depended on my own strength without support from God.
5. Tried to deal with the situation on my own without God’s help.
Religious/Spiritual Methods of Coping to Gain Comfort and Closeness to God
Seeking Spiritual Support—searching for comfort and reassurance through God’s love and care
*1. Sought God’s love and care.
*2. Trusted that God would be by my side.
*3. Looked to God for strength‚ support and guidance.
4. Trusted that God was with me.
5. Sought comfort from God.
Religious Distraction—engaging in religious/ spiritual activities to avoid focusing on the stressor
*1. Prayed to get my mind off of my problems.
*2. Thought about spiritual matters to stop thinking about my problems.
*3. Focused on religion to stop worrying about my problems.
4.Went to church to stop thinking about this situation.
5. Tried to get my mind off my problems by focusing on God.
Religious Purification—searching for spiritual cleansing through religious actions
*1. Confessed my sins.
*2. Asked forgiveness for my sins.
*3. Tried to be less sinful.
4. Searched for forgiveness from God.
5. Asked for God to help me be less sinful.
Spiritual Connection—experiencing a sense of connectedness with forces that transcend
1. Looked for a stronger connection with God.
*2. Sought a stronger spiritual connection with other people.
*3. Thought about how my life is part of a larger spiritual force.
4. Tried to build a strong relationship with a higher power.
5. Tried to experience a stronger feeling of spirituality.
Spiritual Discontent—expressing confusion and dissatisfaction with God’s relationship to the individual in the stressful situation
*1. Wondered whether God had abandoned me.
*2. Voiced anger that God didn’t answer my prayers.
*3. Questioned God’s love for me.
4. Wondered if God really cares.
5. Felt angry that God was not there for me.
Marking Religious Boundaries—clearly demarcating acceptable from unacceptable religious behavior and remaining within religious boundaries
*1. Avoided people who weren’t of my faith.
*2. Stuck to the teachings and practices of my religion.
*3. Ignored advice that was inconsistent with my faith.
4. Tried to stick with others of my own faith.
5. Stayed away from false religious teachings.
Religious/Spiritual Methods of Coping to Gain Intimacy with Others and Closeness to God
Seeking Support from Clergy or Members—searching for comfort and reassurance through the love and care of congregation members and clergy
*1. Looked for spiritual support from clergy.
*2. Asked others to pray for me.
*3. Looked for love and concern from the members of my church.
4. Sought support from members of my congregation.
5. Asked clergy to remember me in their prayers.
Religious Helping—attempting to provide spiritual support and comfort to others
*1. Prayed for the well-being of others.
*2. Offered spiritual support to family or friends.
*3. Tried to give spiritual strength to others.
4. Tried to comfort others through prayer.
5. Tried to provide others with spiritual comfort.
Interpersonal Religious Discontent—expressing confusion and dissatisfaction with the relationship of clergy or members to the individual in the stressful situation
*1. Disagreed with what the church wanted me to do or believe.
*2. Felt dissatisfaction with the clergy.
*3. Wondered whether my church had abandoned me.
4. Felt my church seemed to be rejecting or ignoring me.
5.Wondered whether my clergy was really there for me.
Religious/Spiritual Methods of Coping to Achieve a Life Transformation
Seeking Religious Direction—looking to religion for assistance in finding a new direction for living when the old one may no longer be viable
*1. Asked God to help me find a new purpose in life.
*2. Prayed to find a new reason to live.
*3. Prayed to discover my purpose in living.
4. Sought new purpose in life from God.
5. Looked to God for a new direction in life.
Religious Conversion—looking to religion for a radical change in life
*1. Tried to find a completely new life through religion.
*2. Looked for a total spiritual reawakening.
*3. Prayed for a complete transformation of my life.
4. Tried to change my whole way of life and follow a new path—God’s path.
5. Hoped for a spiritual rebirth.
Religious Forgiving—looking to religion for help in shifting from anger‚ hurt‚ and fear associated with an offense to peace
*1. Sought help from God in letting go of my anger.
*2. Asked God to help me overcome my bitterness.
*3. Sought God’s help in trying to forgive others.
4. Asked God to help me be more forgiving.
5. Sought spiritual help to give up my resentments.
*Indicates item is on the 3-item version of the given subscale.
1 – Not at all‚ 2 – Somewhat‚ 3 – Quite a bit‚ 4 – A great deal
Multidimensional Measurement of Religiousness/Spirituality for Use in Health Research: A Report of the Fetzer Institute/National Institute on Aging Working Group
This instrument can be found on pages 43-56 of Multidimensional Measurement of Religiousness/Spirituality for Use in Health Research: A Report of the Fetzer Institute/National Institute on Aging Working Group‚ available online at

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