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Title: Mental health and wellbeing : associations with religion across the lifecourse
Author: Kaushal, Aradhna
ISNI:       0000 0004 7660 7837
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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Previous research studies have reported benefits of religious practices and beliefs for a range of health outcomes, including mental health and wellbeing. However, most of the research on religion and health is cross-sectional and based on populations from the USA. Therefore, there is a need for evidence from populations outside the USA to assess the external generalisability of these associations. This thesis investigated longitudinal associations between religiosity, and the outcomes of mental health and wellbeing, using data from the Medical Research Council (MRC) National Survey for Health and Development (NSHD). This unique longitudinal data set following the participants from birth was used to investigate 1) the patterns and trends of religiosity across the life course 2) whether religiosity is associated with mental health and wellbeing 3) the role of psychological, social and lifestyle factors on religiosity, and mental health and wellbeing, and 4) whether religiosity moderates the impact of stressful life events on mental health and wellbeing. Associations were tested using regression models, auto-regressive cross-lagged models and interaction terms. A general decline in religious attendance and beliefs across the life course was observed and frequent religious attendance was associated with higher wellbeing scores. Evidence for bi-directional associations between religiosity and mental health was found, but not for wellbeing. Analysis of psychological, social factors and lifestyle factors identified agreeableness, mastery and social support as important factors in associations between religiosity, and mental health and wellbeing. Some aspects of religious beliefs and practices were found to moderate the association between stressful life events, and mental health and wellbeing. There is limited evidence of direct benefits of religiosity for mental health and wellbeing. However, it is possible that religiosity is used as a coping mechanism in response to stressful life events and to some extent buffers their deleterious impact on mental health and wellbeing.
Supervisor: Richards, M. ; Cadar, D. ; Stafford, M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available