The association between strength of religious faith and psychological functioning
Recently researchers have begun examining the benefit of religious faith on mental and physical health outcomes. This study examined the relationship between religious faith and psychological functioning in 342 university students in diverse educational and geographic settings including a private West Coast Catholic college (sample 1), a Southern public state university (sample 2), and a Southern private Baptist college (sample 3). Participants completed several self-report measures. Strength of religious faith was significantly associated with optimism and experiencing meaning in life among sample 1. Results from sample 2 suggest that strength of religious faith was significantly associated with coping with stress, optimism, experiencing meaning in life, viewing life as a positive challenge, and low anxiety. Strength of religious faith was significantly associated with viewing life as a positive challenge and self-acceptance among sample 3. Although modest correlations surfaced, results suggest that strength of religious faith is associated with several important positive mental health benefits among college students.
Plante, T. G., Yancey, S., Sherman, A., & Guertin, M. (2000). The association between strength of religious faith and psychological functioning. Pastoral Psychology, 48, 405-412.