Religious and Spiritual Struggles as Concerns for Health and Well-Being

  • Stauner N
  • Exline J
  • Pargament K
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People struggle with religion and spirituality in several ways,<br />including challenges in trusting God, confronting supernatural evil,<br />tolerating other perspectives on religion, maintaining moral propriety,<br />finding existential meaning, and managing religious doubt. These<br />religious and spiritual (R/S) struggles relate to both physical and<br />mental health independently of other religious and distress factors.<br />Causality in this connection needs further study, but evidence supports<br />many potential causes and moderators of the link between R/S struggle<br />and health. These include personality, social, and environmental<br />influences, including traumatic experiences and subcultural differences.<br />Many theoretical questions remain unresolved, including how change in<br />R/S struggle can predict or be predicted by change in health and other<br />connected constructs, and how one might intervene to aid those who<br />struggle with religious or spiritual challenges. Nonetheless, research<br />momentum has grown, having already produced a wealth of information that<br />underscores the need for greater attention to this domain. R/S struggle<br />poses an important exception to generally positive overall associations<br />between religion and well-being, though even R/S struggle may promote<br />growth. This review offers a brief introduction to emerging<br />psychological theory and research on R/S struggle with an emphasis on<br />its relevance to wellness and illness.




Stauner, N., Exline, J. J., & Pargament, K. I. (2016). Religious and Spiritual Struggles as Concerns for Health and Well-Being. HORIZONTE, 14(41), 48.

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