Initial development and validation of the Assessment of Beliefs and Behaviors in Coping (ABC)
The central purpose of this study was to use structural equation modeling techniques on a newly developed measure of religious coping, the Assessment of Beliefs and Behaviors in Coping (ABC), in order to confirm the factor structure previously established through exploratory factor analysis. The ABC is a two-part, 40-item measure (each part containing 20 items) that measures attitudes about the helpfulness of religious coping as well as use of religious coping behaviors. Multi-group confirmatory factor analysis was conducted to determine whether the established factor structure is the same across religious groups. Participants were 885 undergraduate students from the Department of Educational Psychology subject pool. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to assess the fit of the hypothesized structure as well as explore the fit of competing models. The factor structure of the attitude portion of the measure was confirmed independently of the behavior portion of the measure. Both scales demonstrated the initially theorized four-factor model. Multi-group analyses were then conducted on each portion of the ABC, again, independently. Partial scalar invariance was demonstrated for the ABC – Attitudes (across three groups, Christians, Non-Christians, and Non-Believers). Partial scalar invariance was also demonstrated for the ABC – Behaviors, but only for the Christian and Non-Christian groups. Finally, participants’ scores on the ABC were compared to their scores on existing measures of similar constructs to assess for convergent validity. Reliability of the instrument was also evaluated. By better understanding the role religion plays in coping with stressful life events, the objective is to aid mental health professionals in addressing religion, when applicable, with their clients. Limitations, directions for future research, and implications for counseling psychology are also discussed.