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Religion And Mental Health: Through The Lens Of The Stress Process

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Chapter Summary

Over the past two decades a burgeoning research literature has examined the relationships between religious involvement (and its close cousin, spirituality) and mental health outcomes. Although studies in this area have explored many facets of mental health, there has been significant concentration on affective outcomes. This chapter provides a brief review of literature on religion and mental health, focusing on studies of affective disorders conducted using community- or population-based samples drawn in the United States. It identifies the most promising mechanisms or explanatory pathways that may underlie associations between religious factors and mental health outcomes from the perspective of the stress process. It also outlines the most plausible conceptual models linking religion with components of the stress process. Finally the chapter briefly reviews evidence regarding subgroup variations in the relationships between religion and mental health.

Keywords: affective disorders; literature; mental health; religious involvement; stress process; United States



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