Objective: The present study explored the role of positive and negative God images for the happiness of chronic pain (CP) patients. Framed in the transactional model of stress, we tested a model in which God images would influence happiness partially through its influence on disease interpretation as a mediating mechanism. We expected God images to have both a direct and an indirect (through the interpretation of disease) effect on happiness.
Design: A cross-sectional questionnaire design was adopted in order to measure demographics, pain condition, God images, disease interpretation, and happiness. One hundred and thirty-six CP patients, all members of a national patients assocation completed the questionnaires.
Results: Correlational analyses showed meaningful associations among God image, disease interpretation, and happiness. Path analyses from a structural equation modeling approach indicated that a positive God image seemed to influence happiness, both directly and indirectly through the pathway of positive interpretation of disease. Ancillary analyses showed that the negative influence of an angry God image on happiness disappeared after controlling for pain severity.
Conclusion: The results indicated that one’s God image has an influence on happiness in CP patients, both directly and indirectly through the pathway of positive disease interpretation. These findings can be framed within the transactional theory of stress and can stimulate further pain research investigating the possible effects of religion in the adaptation to CP.