Deviating from Religious Norms and the Mental Health of Conservative Protestants

Andrew H. Mannheimer, Terrence D. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Although numerous studies show that religious involvement is associated with favorable mental health outcomes, research also suggests that religious struggles can be psychologically distressing. Building on previous research, this study examines the psychological consequences of deviating from religious norms among Conservative Protestants. Using data from a statewide probability sample of Texas adults (n = 463), this study tests the hypothesis that Conservative Protestants who fall short of religious norms for attending religious services, reading scripture, and praying will suffer more psychological distress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms than those who meet or exceed religious expectations. Findings indicate that falling short of population average levels for church attendance and reading of religious scripture is associated with higher levels of psychological distress. Interestingly, falling short of population averages for prayer is unrelated to psychological distress, depressive symptoms, and anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1826-1838
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Religion and Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 25 2015


  • Conservative Protestants
  • Mental health
  • Religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Religious studies


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