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Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 14, Issue 1–2, pp 16–25 | Cite as

Religious Doubt and Mental Health Across the Lifespan

  • Kathleen Galek
  • Neal Krause
  • Christopher G. Ellison
  • Taryn Kudler
  • Kevin J. Flannelly
Article

Abstract

The current study examined the connections among religious doubt, mental health, and aging in a nationwide sample of individuals 18 years and older (N = 1629). Findings indicate that that religious doubt emerging from the recognition of suffering and evil in the world has a deleterious impact on mental health. Results also show that as people grow older, religious doubts continue to be associated with psychopathology, but the magnitude of this association becomes weaker across age categories. In other words, the impact of doubt on mental distress declines as one ages. These effects were found across various measures of mental distress, including depression, general anxiety, interpersonal sensitivity, paranoia, hostility, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Findings are explored within the context of psychosocial development and the experiential trajectory of religious maturity.

Keywords

Aging Religious doubt Mental health Religion Psychopathology 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was funded in part by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The authors also wish to thank The HealthCare Chaplaincy’s Research Librarian Helen Tannenbaum and Research Assistant Kathryn M. Murphy.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathleen Galek
    • 1
  • Neal Krause
    • 2
  • Christopher G. Ellison
    • 3
  • Taryn Kudler
    • 1
  • Kevin J. Flannelly
    • 1
  1. 1.HealthCare ChaplaincyNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Department of SociologyThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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