Religious Ritual and Wellbeing

  • Kate Miriam LoewenthalEmail author
  • Simon Dein


Contrary to the typically negative view of ritual found in key psychological texts, this chapter draws on a new trend according to which religious ritual offers a range of positive mental health benefits, from reduced anxiety to meaning in life and sense of community. Adopting a phenomenological perspective, it examines two key rituals: the tranquillity and fulfilment respondents ascribed to Sabbath observance and the strengthening of identity from wearing a headdress for Jewish and Muslim women.


Ritual Sabbath observance Head covering Spirituality Identity 



We would like to thank the TAG Institute for Social Development for their generous financial support of the research in the first study and to Daniel Fleishman (New York University Stern School of Business) for conducting many of the interviews. Lamis Al-Solaim generously conducted interviews on some Muslim participants in the second study. We thank all the research participants for their time and for sharing their experience. The first study was reported more fully in Dein and Loewenthal (2013), and the second study was first reported in Loewenthal (2012).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Royal HollowayUniversity of LondonEghamUK
  2. 2.Glyndwr UniversityWrexhamUK
  3. 3.New York University in LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.Heythrop CollegeUniversity of LondonLondonUK
  5. 5.University College LondonUniversity of LondonLondonUK
  6. 6.Durham UniversityDurhamUK

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