Belongingness is a Mediating Factor Between Religious Service Attendance and Reduced Psychological Distress During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Religion, Belongingness, COVID-19, Psychological distress, Well-being

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This study aimed to test whether pre-pandemic religious service attendance relates to both lesser impact from the COVID-19 pandemic and lower levels of psychological distress among a sample of 645 American adults across nine US regions. A second aim was to test whether belongingness mediated these relationships. First, it was expected that more frequent pre-pandemic religious service attendance relates to belongingness, which mediates the religious service attendance and psychological distress association. Second, it was expected that people who felt greater belongingness also experienced less perceived impact from the pandemic. Results from a path model supported these hypotheses. This is among the first studies to provide empirical evidence for religion’s association with psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Journal of Religion and Health, v. 61, p. 1750-1764