God image, self-efficacy, and religious coping : an analysis of their relationship in college student and prison samples.
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Personal efficacy—that is, an individual’s belief in their ability to perform particular actions that will produce desired results—governs the amount of effort an individual exerts, their perseverance when hindered by obstacles, the nature of one’s cognitions as either self-aiding or self-hindering, and the degree to which one succeeds. Despite some disagreement among theorists, the recognition of the general self-efficacy construct seems theoretically consistent with empirical findings that self-efficacy beliefs can vary in generality. General self-efficacy refers to an individual’s broad confidence in their ability to cope for a period of time with new and demanding life circumstance. Difficult life situations often catalyze individuals who espouse religious faith to utilize their religion/spirituality, either positively or negatively, as a means of coping. Theoretically, the degree to which one feels confident and competent in their ability to engage in religious coping behaviors is related to one's perception of God—the extent to which they believe God to be engaged in their life and critical of their actions/behavior. Little attention has been given to this relationship, however. Similarly, the relationship between God image and positive and negative religious coping has been ignored in the literature. Therefore, the current study sought to explore the relationship between general self-efficacy, God image, and religious coping. Questionnaires were given to three samples: a college student sample, a treatment court sample, and a prison sample. Mediation and moderation analysis were used to explore the nature of the relationship between the three variables within the three samples. Results suggested that the relationship between general self-efficacy and positive religions coping was moderated by the degree to which one perceived God to be engaged in their life. Clinical implications of this moderation are explored and discussed.