Date of Award


Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Theology (Honours) BTh (Hons)


Arts & Theology

First Advisor

Dr. Peter Morey

Second Advisor

Dr. Doug Robertson


Coping is at the core of life. For religious people, religious coping also plays a significant part in the potential outcome of a crisis. Firstly, this study determined the type of religious coping methods adopted by Australian Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church members and the actions of the local minister in supporting them during times of negative life events. Secondly, the research explored SDA church members’ perceptions of the effectiveness of various religious coping methods and pastoral support during these times of crisis. A mixed method design was adopted in this study, encompassing both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Data were collected in a singlephase process from 206 church members across 9 churches. The instrument used to determine the respective religious coping methods adopted by the participants was adapted from Kenneth Pargament’s RCOPE instrument. It was found that SDA church members use a combination of Positive and Negative Religious Coping Methods: with Positive Coping methods that seek a connection with God often being the most effective, while negative coping methods that attribute blame to God and/or others being less effective in dealing with negative life events. An individual’s age, income and the severity of the negative life event they experienced, influenced the type of Religious Coping methods they adopted. This research indicated that pastors within the SDA Church provide substantial and much appreciated support to their members. But there were some areas/dimensions that needed additional attention. This was V particularly so in the relational dimension; with a perceived need in terms of more acceptance, a less judgmental attitude and some basic counseling skills. This study found that church members need to feel a positive connection with God and the church before they are able to begin to successfully deal with negative life events. It is, however, only when church members have established these connections with God that they are able to also readily accept support from God and the church community.


Used by permission: the author.

A print copy of this thesis is held in the Avondale College Library (SC Theses 253.5 F94).

Included in

Religion Commons