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Religion and Mental Health

  1. Michelle J. Pearce,
  2. Harold G. Koenig

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0788

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Pearce, M. J. and Koenig, H. G. 2010. Religion and Mental Health. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. Duke University Medical Center

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Religion is an organized system of beliefs, practices, and rituals designed to facilitate closeness to the sacred or transcendent—whether that be God, a higher power, ultimate truth, or ultimate reality—and to foster an understanding of one's relationship and responsibility to others in living together in a community. Religion includes not only attendance at religious services and involvement in religious community activities involving scripture study or prayer, but also private personal religious practices such as prayer, meditation, study of scriptures, reading inspirational literature, and private worship. Religion also includes personal religiousness, degree of religious commitment, and religious motivation, which is the extent to which religious beliefs are the object of the person's ultimate concern in life. National surveys have consistently revealed that many Americans have religious beliefs and engage in religious practices. For example, 64% of Americans report praying at least once a day, 44% report attending religious services in the last 7 days, and 84% report that religion is somewhat or very important to them (Gallup, 2005).


  • mental health;
  • quality of life;
  • religion;
  • risk-taking behavior