The effects of religious upbringing and current religious or spiritual practice greatly impact mental health whether it be positive or negative. While this has the potential to affect anyone, the LGBTQ+ community is a particularly vulnerable community. The LGBTQ+ community has a long history in the US regarding their legal and social rights/standing. Despite many recent positive changes such as the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, many sexual-based discrimination and stigma remain. Additionally, those in the LGBTQ+ community who have a past or current religious/spiritual background may experience conflict in their identities, resulting in poorer mental health in terms of depressive symptoms, anxiety, stress, self-esteem, internalized homophobia, and many more potential effects. On the contrary, religion and spirituality could provide a potential source of comfort, resilience, life meaning, community, etc. This study aims to find the potential impact of religion and spirituality on mental health and wellbeing in LGBTQ+ adults. A heterosexual sample is also included for comparison. We expect the results of the proposed study to indicate that religion/spirituality has a more negative effect on the mental health/wellbeing of LGBTQ+ participants compared to their heterosexual peers. Specifically, we predict that LGBTQ+ participants will fare worse in mental health measures, especially if they have a religious upbringing/background. However, if they currently practice religion/spirituality, we predict that they will fare better than non-religious or spiritual LGBTQ+ participants. Overall, we predict that all LGBTQ+ participants will fare worse than their heterosexual peers, regardless of their religious background or current affiliation.


Casey, Michael




Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Psychology, sexuality, religion, spirituality, sexual orientation

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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