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Perceptions of Accountability to God and Psychological Well-Being Among US Adults


This study examines whether accountability to God is positively associated with four measures of psychological well-being—happiness, mattering to others, dignity, and meaning—among US adults. It also tests the possibility that prayer moderates these associations. Data from the 2017 Values and Beliefs of the American Public Survey (n = 1251) were analyzed using multivariate regression. Findings provided support for an association between accountability to God and mattering to others, dignity, and meaning in fully controlled models, and for happiness when religious controls were excluded. They also showed that these relationships were stronger among those who prayed frequently compared with those who did not. Overall, these findings shed light on a new concept—accountability to God—including its association with psychological well-being.

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This publication was made possible through the support of a grant from the Templeton Religion Trust (#0171). The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Templeton Religion Trust. The authors also thank the Institute for Studies of Religion and Dr. Paul Froese for providing financial support and access to the data.

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Correspondence to Matt Bradshaw.

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There are no conflicts of interest. This research is in compliance with ethical standards for scholarly publishing and with the guidelines outlined by the Journal of Religion and Health.

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Bradshaw, M., Kent, B.V., vanOyen Witvliet, C. et al. Perceptions of Accountability to God and Psychological Well-Being Among US Adults. J Relig Health 61, 327–352 (2022).

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  • Prayer
  • Virtue
  • Happiness
  • Dignity
  • Meaning