The Moderating Effect of Religious Involvement on the Relationship Between PTSD Symptoms and Physical Pain in U.S. Veterans and Active Duty Military


Journal Article

© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. The relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity and pain is well known in veterans and active duty military (V/ADM). This study examines the buffering effect of religiosity on that relationship. A multisite study was conducted involving 585 V/ADM from across the United States. Multidimensional measures of religiosity, PTSD symptoms, depression/anxiety were administered, along with physical pain on a 0 to 10 visual analog scale. Bivariate and multivariate relationships were examined, along with the moderating effects of religiosity. PTSD symptoms were significantly related to pain level (r = 0.44), a relationship that was only slightly weaker among highly religious (r = 0.34) vs. nonhighly religious (r = 0.48). In multivariate analyses, the interaction between religiosity and PTSD severity on pain was not significant, although stratified analyses indicated a somewhat weaker relationship between PTSD severity and pain in the highly religious (B = 0.03, SE =0.01, t = 2.28, p = 0.02) compared to those who were not (B = 0.06, SE =0.01, t = 6.55, p < 0.0001). Likewise, effects of pain on PTSD symptoms appeared weaker in the highly religious (B = 0.67, SE =0.37, t = 1.80, p = 0.07) compared to others (B = 1.32, SE =0.25, t = 5.34, p < 0.0001). Conclusion: This study provides only minimal evidence that high religious involvement may buffer the effects of PTSD symptoms on pain and vice-versa.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lea, CR; Oliver, RJP; Smothers, Z; Boucher, NA; Youssef, NA; Ames, D; Volk, F; Teng, EJ; Koenig, HG

Published Date

  • July 3, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 7 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 327 - 335

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2163-5803

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2163-5781

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/21635781.2018.1526149

Citation Source

  • Scopus