Financial Hardship, Religious Resources, and Psychological Well-Being in Late Life
Matt Bradshaw, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Cheryl Roberts, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Glen H. Elder, Jr., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Margarita A. Mooney, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Drawing on the stress process model, social capital theory, attachment theory, and research on the religion-health connection, this study investigated the main and interactive effects of financial hardship and religious resources on psychological well-being using data on a national sample of older adults. Several empirical findings are noteworthy: (1) financial hardship has deleterious effects on psychological well-being; (2) religious resources, in the form of both congregational support and a secure attachment to God, are positively associated with well-being; (3) financial hardship and religious resources do not operate in independent ways, but instead interactively influence psychological well-being. With respect the final point, the negative impact of financial hardship is reduced at high levels of religious resources (a buffering effect), and the positive association between religious resources and psychological well-being accrues primarily to individuals who are suffering from financial hardship. Study limitations and an agenda for future research are discussed.