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How Are Religious Belief and Behavior Good for You? An Investigation of Mediators Relating Religion to Mental Health in a Sample of Israeli Jewish Students

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The present study investigated the relation between aspects of religiousness and negative and positive aspects of mental health and compared three models of the psychosocial processes that may underlie this relation. A sample of 668 Jewish Israeli students filled out multidimensional self-report measures of religious belief and behavior, religious identity, personal fear of death, perceived social support, meaning in life, and mental health. This sample was divided into a religious identity subsample, a traditional identity subsample, and a secular identity subsample. Path analyses found religious belief to be positively related to psychosocial well-being and negatively related to psychological distress only for the religious and secular identity subsamples. These analyses also indicated that meaning in life, but not social support nor fear of death, accounted for both relations.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Noa Vilchinsky is an Instructor -Doctor in the Department of Psychology, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, 52900, Israel., Email: 2: Shlomo Kravetz is a Full Professor in the Department of Psychology, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, 52900, Israel., Email:

Publication date: December 1, 2005


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