"...som ett trappräcke i en brant, brant trappa" : En religionspsykologisk studie av riter och kultur i copingprocesser hos drabbade av tsunamikatastrofen i Thailand 2004
Coping theory asks what the cognitive and behavioral patterns of individuals dealing with stress are. This essay includes, besides the perspective of the psychology of religion, theories of culture and ritual in exploring two Swedes coping with the natural disaster in Thailand year 2004. The vacation paradise was struck by an enormous flood wave, called a tsunami, causing vast destruction and the death of over 200.000 people. Among these 543 were Swedes on vacation. When a disaster of such measures happens, what kind of stress does it cause? How do you cope? Are religion and ritual important? What is the function of the culture in the copingprocess?Using hermeneutical analysis this essay interprets the material from two books by Swedes, who not only experienced the disaster, but lost two children and husband and wife in the flood wave. According to the coping theory of Kenneth Pargament, religion can be a resource in coping. Turning to ritual practice is one religiously influenced strategy. The analysis accordingly shows that rituals, especially funerals and memorials, are important means of coping with the loss of loved ones. Symbols and ritual behavior are beneficial. Religion plays an important role as provider of rites the passage. Institutionalized religion functions mainly as transmitter of cultural values and bearer of tradition. But a religious or transcendent perspective also seems to provide support in unregulated ceremonies and emotionally stressful situations. This is independent of the individual being religious or not. Thus the cultural perspective is important in understanding the role of religion in coping. Culturally informed behavior and cognitive patterns could explain the importance of religion. Further, the analysis shows that culture causes stress and provides resources in coping. The coping processes vary between the two individuals but share some factors, such as social networks and certain personal qualities, providing particular support in the coping.
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