Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Psychology (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Michael Nielsen


Religion plays a significant role in the personality and worldview of a many individuals. It can provide one with personal benefits such as coping mechanisms, a framework for meaning-making, and a source of motivation, while also providing social support through connections with others having the same religious beliefs. The removal of said benefits through disaffiliation from a religious identity may lead to distress or anxiety. While much research has been done sociologically regarding the increasing number of people who do not affiliate with a religious group, much less has been done to analyze the individual experience of religious disaffiliation and its effect on mental and emotional health. The current study investigates the relationship between religious background and the presence of anxiety symptoms, specifically looking at Centrality of Religiosity, family religiosity, and level of exclusivity to define the religious background of the disaffiliated. A sample of 40 people responded to measures of religiosity and anxiety. Results did not support the hypothesis that religious disaffiliation is associated with increased levels of anxiety.

Thesis Summary

This study investigates the relationship between factors of religious background in those who disaffiliate from religion, and presence of anxiety symptoms.