Religious coping with sport injuries: Preliminary comparisons between athletes affiliating with different Christian denominations

Effective care of sport injuries involves providing culturally competent care (Cartwright & Shingles, 2011), which means that sport and medical professionals working with injured athletes should demonstrate sensitivity and accommodation of cultural differences in their roles with these athletes.  Religiosity is one aspect of athletes’ cultures that contributes to resilience and effective coping with sport injuries through religious coping efforts (Seitz, Sagas & Connaughton, 2014; Wiese-Bjornstal, Wood, White, Wambach, & Rubio, 2018), yet little is known about similarities or differences in these contributions based on specific religious affiliations.  Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine religious coping with sport injuries based on athlete affiliations with different Christian denominations.  Data for this preliminary cross-sectional analysis were obtained from a larger study.  As part of the larger study, participants completed an online survey containing demographic questions about their religious affiliations and their most serious or challenging sport injuries, and questionnaires regarding their use of religious coping strategies during their sport injury experiences.  A sample of 29 participants was selected for analysis from the larger pool based upon their affiliations with the Christian faith.  The results showed that across the sample the most frequently used religious coping strategies were positive.  With respect to denominational differences, the data showed that Non-Denominational/Evangelical Christians utilized positive religious ways of coping significantly more often than did Catholic/Mainline Protestant Christians.  These preliminary results support that athletes’ specific Christian affiliations affect their religious coping efforts during sport injury experiences, and provides a knowledge base upon which to improve culturally competent care.