Does Spirituality or Religion Positively Affect Mental Health? Meta-analysis of Longitudinal Studies

Bert Garssen*, Anja Visser, Grieteke Pool

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The objective of this meta-analysis was to determine the longitudinal positive effect of religion or spirituality (R/S) on mental health. We summarized 48 longitudinal studies (59 independent samples) using a random effects model. Mental health was operationalized as a continuous and a dichotomous distress measure, life satisfaction, well-being, and quality of life. R/S included participation in public and private religious activities, support from church members, importance of religion, intrinsic religiousness, positive religious coping, meaningfulness, and composite measures. The meta-analysis yielded a significant, but small overall effect size of r = .08 (95% CI: 0.06 to 0.10). Of eight R/S predictors that were distinguished, only participation in public religious activities and importance of religion were significantly related to mental health (r = .08 and r = .09, respectively; 95% CI: 0.04 to 0.11 and 0.05 to 0.12, respectively). In conclusion, there is evidence for a positive effect of R/S on mental health, but this effect is small.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal for the Psychology of Religion
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27-Feb-2020

Keywords

  • UNIVERSAL HUMAN-EXPERIENCE
  • DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS
  • CANCER-PATIENTS
  • SERVICE ATTENDANCE
  • BETA COEFFICIENTS
  • MAJOR DEPRESSION
  • INVOLVEMENT
  • LIFE
  • QUALITY
  • ADULTS

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