Resilience and Representations of God Among Sri Lankan Youth
Developing countries have unique challenges and minimal resources resulting in vulnerability to psychological distress. International research suggests youth in developing countries are often impacted by adversity. Resilience reduces the effects of adversity. Kent, Davis and Reich (2014) found representations of god(s) can serve as protective factors, mitigating the effects of hardship, or as a source of distress, contributing to psychological symptoms. The current study examined the relationship between resilience and representations of god(s) among Sri Lankan youth. The Tamil version of the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, Questionnaire of God Representations, and a demographic questionnaire was administered to Tamil participants (ages 11-24) who identified as Hindu or Christian. Resilience scores were significantly lower among the Hindus than Christians. Higher scores of resilience correlated with positive representations of god(s) including experiencing positive emotions towards god(s) and viewing god(s) as supportive. Viewing god(s) as supportive was a significant predictor of resilience. Lower scores of resilience were not correlated with negative representations of god(s) such as; experiencing negative emotions toward god(s) including anger or anxiety, and viewing god(s) actions as ruling, punishing, or passive. Positive representations of god(s) contribute to resiliency in a Tamil sample of youth; mitigating the effects of adversity. Including spirituality or religiosity in clinical intervention and providing religious and spiritual resources to educators may decrease vulnerability to psychological symptoms and increase resiliency among individuals in developing countries.