Christ Redeemed Me: How Religionand Cognitive Reappraisal in Life Stories Relate To The Well-Being Of Protestant Christian Students
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A life story represents an integrated and holistic representation of the self that has a past, present and future. Dan P. McAdams has found that particular emotional sequences within episodes of the life story called “redemptive sequences” correlate to various measures of well-being. Scored bya coding schema, these are episodes in which a story goes from negative affect to positive affect, thus redeeming a negative experience. This narrativepsychologyphenomenon relates to an emotional regulation strategy called cognitive reappraisal, which also correlates with well-being. By engaging withthe meaning-making model,religion helps people cope with traumatic events, and is theorized toutilizecognitive reappraisal.Taking the constructs of religion, well-being, and cognitive reappraisal (as operationalized by the narrative measure of redemption sequence scores), thisthesis ultimately asks whether or not cognitive reappraisal mediatesthe relationship between religion and well-being.The thesis includes a studyof Protestant Christian university students (n = 26), which replicates the study by McAdams with an added measurement of religiosity and Christian conservatism. The studyoffers an attempted replication of findings of various studies by McAdams et al. (2001), Ferriss (2002), Ellison (1991), and Vishkin et al. (2016). In addition, the study offers pilot work forusing narrative psychological measures for a more objective approach to measuring cognitive reappraisal. It was hypothesized that religiosity and Christian conservatism would both positively correlate with redemption sequence and with two measures of well-being(SWLS and Ryff’s scales of psychological well-being). These various correlations would then be analyzed by partial correlations and multiple regression analysisto explore among constructs for a potential mediation of cognitive reappraisal for the positive correlation between religion and well-being. Resulting correlations were mostly inconclusive. However statistically significant correlations were found in two relationships: between redemption sequencesand both measures of well-being, and between belief in Bible inerrancy and SWLS.