The aim of the study was to examine the proposition that religiosity and the related factor, spirituality, contribute to lower personal distress among students. The sample comprised 624 students: 314 Grade 12 secondary school students and 310 third-year social science university students
in South Africa. Results indicate that the majority of the students show a high degree of religious belief and religious involvement. Some religious variables – such as being a born-again Christian and considering religion as important – were associated with decreased Perceived
Stress. Minor psychiatric morbidity as measured with the Self-reporting Questionnaire (SRQ; WHO, 1994) was positively associated with some religious beliefs and involvement, while meaning and direction in life was inversely associated with the SRQ score. All three religious coping styles were
inversely associated with perceived stress. Contrary to expectations it was found that some of the religious coping styles were positively associated with minor psychiatric morbidity, especially the depression scores of the SRQ. Findings show that some religious variables were positively associated
with mental health while others were inversely or not related, thus only partially supporting the religion-mental health link.