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Religious Orientation, Mature Faith, and Psychological Distress: Elements of Positive and Negative Associations

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There are substantial data exploring the link between religiousness and health, yet there is little consensus regarding the nature of the relationship between religiousness domains and mental health. The purpose of this study was to identify the types of mental health outcomes associated with religiousness domains. Participants included 251 (M= 19.02; range = 17–25) young adults who completed self-report measures of religiousness (Intrinsic, Extrinsic, and Quest Orientations, Faith Maturity Scale), and psychological distress subscales (SCL-90-R). We identified significant relationships between each of the religiousness measures and the SCL-90-R subscales and analyzed the relative contributions of each of the religiousness measures in predicting psychological distress with hierarchical multiple regression. The Faith Maturity Scale was a particularly robust predictor of positive and negative psychological adjustment. The specific pathways by which religiousness influences mental health outcomes remain to be elaborated in future research.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: John M. Salsman, M.S., is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at the University of Kentucky; Charles R. Carlson, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Kentucky.

Publication date: June 1, 2005


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