Risk and resilience: The moderating role of social coping for maternal mental health in a setting of political conflict: The moderating role of social coping for maternal mental health in a setting of political conflict

Laura Taylor, Christine E Merrilees, Ed Cairns, Peter Shirlow, Marcie Goeke-Morey, E Mark Cummings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Violence can threaten individual wellbeing and tear at the social fabric of communities. At the same time, suffering can mobilize social coping and mutual support. Thus, the backdrop of political violence increases risk factors and stimulates resilience. The current study examined the moderating role of social coping as reflective of risk and resiliency in Northern Ireland, a setting of protracted conflict. Specifically, structural equation modeling was used to investigate whether social coping protects from or exacerbates the negative impact of sectarian crime and nonsectarian crime on maternal mental health (N?=?631). Nonsectarian crime predicted greater psychological distress for mothers in Belfast. Mixed support was found for the buffering and depletion moderation hypotheses; social coping functioned differently for nonsectarian crime and sectarian crime. Greater social coping buffered mothers' psychological distress from the negative effects of nonsectarian crime, but exacerbated maternal mental health problems when facing sectarian crime. Results suggest that social coping is a complex phenomenon, particularly in settings of protracted political violence. Implications for interventions aimed at alleviating psychological distress by enhancing mothers' social coping in contexts of intergroup conflict are discussed. We would like to thank the many families in Northern Ireland who have participated in the project. We would also like to express our appreciation for the project staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Ulster. A special thanks to Cindy Bergeman and Dan Lapsley for feedback on earlier drafts of this manuscript. This research was supported by NICHD grant 046933-05 to the E. Mark Cummings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-603
JournalInternational journal of psychology : Journal international de psychologie
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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