Religion and mental health: Exploring ideas about God may be integral to finding healing

“When it comes to mental health, the aspect of religion that matters the most is the nature of one’s relationship with God,” the 2010 Baylor Religion Survey concluded.

The survey found that prayer, religious affiliation and activity — the longstanding measures of religiosity in Western culture — had little effect on someone’s reported mental health. Instead, it was a person’s spiritual worldview that more often mapped onto their psychological state. Researchers found that people who believe their troubles are the result of God exacting judgment because of sin have higher levels of anxiety, paranoia and compulsion than those who believe in a caring, engaged God who will help them cope with life’s challenges.

“One of the motivations behind this research was to make clear to the (sociology) profession that religious beliefs matter,” said Dr. Paul Froese, a Baylor sociologist and researcher for the survey. “To the average person that may not seem like a revelation. But to social scientists that‘s a hard sell.” MORE.

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About The Rev. Thomas C. Jackson

Ordained to the priesthood in December, 2010.
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