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Religiosity has many positive effects, studies reveal

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Posted December 10, 2014

More and more research documents that religion and spirituality exert positive influence on various dimensions of our well-being. Five brand new studies published in the Journal of Family Psychology provide further empirical support.

Picture: Church of Saint-Severin. Image credit: Dennis Jarvis via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Picture: Church of Saint-Severin. Image credit: Dennis Jarvis via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

“We hope the five studies in this special section inspire more researchers to delve an emerging subfield called Relational Spirituality, which focuses on the ways that people can draw on specific spiritual beliefs and behaviors to motivate them to create, maintain, and transform their family relationships, thereby influencing the well-being of all family members,” psychologists Annette Mahoney and Annmarie Cano say.

“Greater access to Religion/Spirituality resources, such as having a close, supportive relationship with God and being more involved with a religious community, has been tied in crosssectional and longitudinal studies to better psychological adjustment and lower substance use,” the scientists say. However, relationship among faith in God and well-being is very complex, mediated by various factors and dependent on different contexts. New set of studies explores details of this interesting phenomenon.

One of the studies revealed that teenagers, whose level of religiousness is low, were inclined to use alcohol and other drugs, when they had a bad relationship with their parents. This was not the case with those youngsters, who were highly religious. They also showed that non-religious adolescents who experienced self-management problems were more prone to consume various drugs. However, religious individuals having similar mental issues were not apt to start to drink or use other drugs.

Another study showed that church attendance with other family members has a positive effect on the children’s mental well-being. R. J. Petts working at the University of Michigan found out that “youth who attended religious services with their parent(s) in late childhood (ages 10 –14), regardless of family structure, were more likely to experience a trajectory of higher psychological well-being throughout adolescence.” Moreover, his study revealed that this effect is stronger for those children who live with both of their parents than for those who grow up in single-parent families.

Article: Mahoney A. and Cano A.M., 2014, Introduction to the Special Section on Religion and Spirituality in Family Life: Pathways Between Relational Spirituality, Family Relationships and Personal Well-Being; Journal of Family Psychology © 2014 American Psychological Association, Vol. 28, No. 6, 735–738, source link.

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