A matter of faith: The role of religion, doubt, and personality in emerging adult mental health

Alison M Haney, Purdue University


Religion has long been implicated as a powerful contributor to physical and mental well-being across the lifespan. Religious constructs also are linked to other aspects of identity and individual differences such that the unique contributions of religion to mental health outcomes remains unclear. This study examined specific domains of religiosity (intrinsic, extrinsic, and doubt) as contributors to mental health, distinct from personality and self-complexity. A sample of young adults (n = 509) reported on these constructs along with measures of depression, anxiety, aggression, satisfaction with life, and flourishing. As hypothesized, higher levels of religiosity predicted most mental health outcomes above and beyond demographic characteristics and personality, and religious doubt predicted poorer outcomes. Self-complexity did not provide a buffer against the deleterious effects of religious doubt. Results demonstrated a significant and unique role of religion and doubt in predicting important mental health outcomes. Religiosity also differed as a function of age, gender, and ethnicity. Clinical implications of these results are discussed along with recommendations for further research.^




David Rollock, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Religion|Mental health|Personality psychology

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