Aydin, Nilüfer; Fischer, Peter; Frey, Dieter
Turning to God in the Face of Ostracism: Effects of Social Exclusion on Religiousness.
In: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 36, No. 6: pp. 742-753
The present research proposes that individuals who are socially excluded can turn to religion to cope with the experience. Empirical studies conducted to test this hypothesis consistently found that socially excluded persons reported (a) significantly higher levels of religious affiliation (Studies 1, 2, and 4) and (b) stronger intentions to engage in religious behaviors (Study 2) than comparable, nonexcluded individuals. Direct support for the stress-buffering function of religiousness was also found, with a religious prime reducing the aggression-eliciting effects of consequent social rejection (Study 5). These effects were observed in both Christian and Muslim samples, revealing that turning to religion can be a powerful coping response when dealing with social rejection. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.