<bold>Background</bold>: Minnesota hosts the largest Somali population of any state in the U.S., with a median age of 25 years; Somalis are 12 years younger, on average, than the general population. Published reports reveal moderate to high rates of anxiety, depression, chemical use and trauma among young adult Somalis. Academic settings are ideal for prevention of mental health disorders and promotion of physical and emotional well-being. Religious coping is a strong predictor of health outcomes, but few studies have been conducted with young, non-western, non-Christian samples. <bold> Purpose</bold>: The purpose of this study was to examine the associations among positive and negative religious coping, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and physical and emotional well-being among Somali college students in Minnesota's Twin Cities. <bold>Method</bold>: An online, cross-sectional survey design was used to collect data to describe participants and measure study variables. The survey included: investigator-designed demographic items and standardized measures of acculturation, critical life event (The Social Readjustment Rating Scale), positive and negative religious coping (Brief RCOPE), symptoms of anxiety and depression (Partial Symptom Checklist - SCL-90), and physical and emotional well-being (the modified SF-12v2 Health Survey). The online survey was pilot-tested with eight students and a community advisory board and revised prior to use in this study. Study participants were recruited from five universities in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. The final sample size was 156. Descriptive statistics, Pearson correlations, and structural equation modeling were used to explore the associations between and among the variables. Results: The sample had a mean age of 21 years. Participants reported more symptoms of depression as compared to symptoms of anxiety and scored higher on physical well-being compared to emotional well-being. In this sample, Somali young adults mostly used positive religious coping mechanisms when faced with critical life events. In the multivariate analysis, all associations between religious coping and the other main variables were significant except three. Positive religious coping was positively associated with emotional well-being, and negatively with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Negative religious coping was positively associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety and negatively associated with emotional well-being. Gender was not significantly associated with any of the variables. <bold>Discussion</bold>: Positive religious coping was associated with fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety, and an increase in levels of emotional well-being. In comparison, a higher level of negative religious coping was associated with more symptoms of both depression and anxiety and a lower level of emotional well-being. Low levels of physical well-being were associated with both positive and negative religious coping. This is probably because those with physical illnesses may use both mechanisms of religious coping at different times, depending on their health status throughout the period of ill health.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. September 2014. Major: Nursing. Advisor: Linda Halcon. 1 computer file (PDF); xiii, 145 pages.
Religious Coping, Symptoms Of Depression And Anxiety, And Well-Being Among Somali College Students.
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