Term of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Michael Nielsen

Committee Member 1

Dorthie Cross

Committee Member 2

Lawrence Locker


The present study was designed to examine the relationship among religion, mental health, stressful life events, and people’s sense of meaning and purpose in life using data from the 2017 Baylor Religion Survey (BRS), a publicly available dataset. This survey obtained data from a nationwide study of 1,501 United States adults, 1,402 of whom are included in the current analyses. The first three hypotheses of this study were that (1) religion is positively associated with meaning to an individual’s life, that (2) meaning is positively associated with mental health, and that (3) stress is negatively associated with mental health. Finally, the central hypothesis of this study was that (4) meaning moderates the relationship between stress and mental health. The results of the study found modest support for the first three hypotheses, but do not confirm the primary hypothesis of this study. However, interestingly, analysis of the data showed that stress is positively associated with mental health, consistent with a view distinguishing distress from eustress.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material