Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

James M. Henson

Committee Member

Michelle Kelley

Committee Member

Ivan Ash


The present research examined the moderating effect of religious coping (positive or negative) on the relationship between depressive symptoms and alcohol-related problems. Furthermore, the current study examined the moderating effects of positive and negative religious coping in the context of the confirmed mediation of drinking to cope on depression and alcohol related problems (i.e., moderated-mediation). The study consisted of 294 religious undergraduate student drinkers from a large southeastern university. The majority of participants identified themselves as Christian (n = 257, 87.4%), were female (n = 218, 74.1%), and reported a mean age of 21.85 (SD = 5.57) years. Participants completed measures of depressive symptoms, alcohol use, alcohol-related problems, drinking to cope, and religious coping. The present study found partial support for the Maladaptive Coping Hypothesis among religious college student drinkers. In particular, negative religious coping moderated the relationship between depressive symptoms and alcohol-related problems. In addition, negative religious coping affects another maladaptive coping strategy (i.e., drinking to cope) by moderating the meditating effects of drinking to cope on the relationship between depressive symptoms and alcohol-related problems. However, positive religious coping was unrelated to all major study variables. The implication of this study may be important for future interventions to tap into improving coping strategies for religious individuals who report high levels of depressive symptoms.


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