Review of Religious Research

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 137–159 | Cite as

Religiousness, Spirituality, and Psychological Distress in Taiwan

  • Eric Y. Liu
  • Scott Schieman
  • Sung Joon Jang
Original Paper


Most of the previous research on religion and mental health has focused solely on Western, predominantly Christian societies. Using a 2004 national survey of 1,881 adults in Taiwan, this study investigates the relationships between multidimensional measures of religiousness/spirituality and psychological distress in an Eastern context. Our findings differ from previous studies in the West, showing that: (1) religious-based supernatural beliefs are associated with more distress; (2) daily prayer is associated with less distress; (3) engaging in secular-based supernatural activities like fortune-telling is related to more distress; and (4) the frequency of religious attendance is unrelated to levels of distress. Broader theoretical and empirical implications of these findings are discussed.


Religiousness Spirituality Psychological distress Mental health Taiwan 



This study was supported in part by a grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 70973132). Special thanks go to Rodney Stark at Baylor University, Christopher G. Ellison at The University of Texas at San Antonio, Yinghwa Chang and Hei-Yuan Chiu at the Academia Sinica of Taiwan, and anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on early drafts of this article.


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Copyright information

© Religious Research Association, Inc. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Y. Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Scott Schieman
    • 3
  • Sung Joon Jang
    • 4
  1. 1.Center for China Studies, State University of New YorkBuffalo State CollegeBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Advanced Studies of ReligionRenmin University of ChinaBeijingChina
  3. 3.University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Baylor UniversityWacoUSA

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