Although religiosity is often accompanied by more intense emotions, we propose that people who are more religious may be better at using 1 of the most effective emotion regulation strategies-namely, cognitive reappraisal. We argue that religion, which is a meaning-making system, is linked to better cognitive reappraisal, which involves changing the meaning of emotional stimuli. Four studies (N = 2,078) supported our hypotheses. In Study 1, religiosity was associated with more frequent use of cognitive reappraisal in 3 distinct religions (i.e., Islam, Christianity, Judaism). In Studies 2A-2B, we replicated these findings using 2 indices of cognitive reappraisal and in a large representative sample. In Studies 3-4, individuals more (vs. less) religious were more effective in using cognitive reappraisal in the laboratory. We discuss how these findings inform our understanding of the psychology of religion and of emotion regulation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported in part by the German-Israeli Foundation under Grant I-324-105.1-2012.
© 2015 American Psychological Association.
- Emotion regulation