Objectives: Together with the COVID-19 pandemic, conspiracy theories have begun to spread. Evidence is lacking for religious conspiracy theories (RCT) related to COVID-19 in a non-religious environment. This study aimed to assess links between religiosity and spirituality (R/S) and RCT about COVID-19, and to examine their associations with mental health.
Methods: A sample of Czech adults (n = 1,273, mean age = 47.5, SD = 16.4; 51.5% male) participated in the survey. We measured R/S, RCT, negative religious coping (NRC), feelings impairment and mental health symptoms.
Results: We found R/S were significantly associated with RCT with β 0.71 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.59–0.82) for the strongest association. Moreover, RCT and NRC were strongly associated with paranoia, anxiety and depression. The most frequent association was found for NRC and paranoid ideation, with β of 0.35 (95% CI 0.26–0.44).
Conclusion: Our findings showed associations between religiosity/spirituality and beliefs in religious conspiracy theories about COVID-19. Moreover, these RCT and negative religious coping were linked to higher possibility of mental health problems. Understanding these associations may help prevent this negative impact and contribute to the effectiveness of psychotherapeutic help.
- COVID-19 pandemic
- mental health
- religious conspiracy beliefs
- religious coping