Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 53, Issue 5, pp 1285–1296

Beliefs About God and Mental Health Among American Adults

  • Nava R. Silton
  • Kevin J. Flannelly
  • Kathleen Galek
  • Christopher G. Ellison
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10943-013-9712-3

Cite this article as:
Silton, N.R., Flannelly, K.J., Galek, K. et al. J Relig Health (2014) 53: 1285. doi:10.1007/s10943-013-9712-3


This study examines the association between beliefs about God and psychiatric symptoms in the context of Evolutionary Threat Assessment System Theory, using data from the 2010 Baylor Religion Survey of US Adults (N = 1,426). Three beliefs about God were tested separately in ordinary least squares regression models to predict five classes of psychiatric symptoms: general anxiety, social anxiety, paranoia, obsession, and compulsion. Belief in a punitive God was positively associated with four psychiatric symptoms, while belief in a benevolent God was negatively associated with four psychiatric symptoms, controlling for demographic characteristics, religiousness, and strength of belief in God. Belief in a deistic God and one’s overall belief in God were not significantly related to any psychiatric symptoms.


Beliefs ETAS theory General anxiety Social anxiety Obsession–compulsion Paranoia Religion 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nava R. Silton
    • 1
  • Kevin J. Flannelly
    • 2
  • Kathleen Galek
    • 3
  • Christopher G. Ellison
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMarymount Manhattan CollegeNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Center for Psychosocial ResearchMassapequaUSA
  3. 3.The Spears Research Institute, Healthcare ChaplaincyNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Department of SociologyThe University of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA

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