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Belief in Life-After-Death, Beliefs About the World, and Psychiatric Symptoms

Abstract

Data from the 2010 Baylor Religion Survey were analyzed by structural equation modeling (SEM) to test five hypotheses: (1) that religious commitment is positively related to belief in life-after-death; that belief in life-after-death is (2) positively related to belief in an equitable world, and (3) negatively related to belief in a cynical world; (4) that belief in a cynical world has a pernicious association with psychiatric symptoms; and (5) that belief in an equitable world has a salubrious association with psychiatric symptoms. As hypothesized, religious commitment was positively related to belief in life-after-death (β = .74). In turn, belief in life-after-death was negatively associated with belief in a cynical world (β = −.16) and positively associated with belief in an equitable world (β = .36), as hypothesized. SEM further confirmed that belief in a cynical world had a significant pernicious association with all five classes of psychiatric symptoms (β’s = .11 to .30). Belief in an equitable world had a weaker and less consistent salubrious association with psychiatric symptoms. The results are discussed in the context of ETAS theory.

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Acknowledgments

The conduct of this research and the preparation of this manuscript for publication were made possible through the generous support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation to HealthCare Chaplaincy, NY, NY: ID# 21296, “Spiritual Beliefs as Predictors of Mental Health: A Test of ETAS Theory” (Kevin J. Flannelly, Ph.D., and Kathleen Galek, Ph.D., Co-PI’s). The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation.

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Flannelly, K.J., Ellison, C.G., Galek, K. et al. Belief in Life-After-Death, Beliefs About the World, and Psychiatric Symptoms. J Relig Health 51, 651–662 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-012-9608-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-012-9608-7

Keywords

  • Life-after-death
  • Mental health
  • Psychiatric symptoms
  • Religion
  • Religious beliefs
  • Evolution ETAS theory