Mental Health and Religiosity: The Role of Experiential Avoidance in the Symptoms of Depression, Anxiety, and Stress

Reiner Fuentes Ferrada, Leonardo D. Bacigalupe, Jorge Ordóñez Carrasco, Melissa Münzenmayer, Miguel A. Navarro, María J. Escobar, Javiera Cárdenas, Álvaro I. Langer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several studies have considered religiosity to be a protective factor against several mental health difficulties. However, other studies suggest the opposite, that is, that religiosity is a risk factor associated with psychological symptoms. In this context, there are no studies that evaluate this relationship considering the role of experiential avoidance, which is a predictive transdiagnostic variable of various mental health disorders. This study evaluated the relationship between experiential avoidance, attitudes toward religion, and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress in a sample of believers using a non-experimental cross-sectional design in the city of Valdivia, Chile. Results indicate that experiential avoidance is positively related to symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress, being the only predictor variable of the three symptomatic dimensions. Engaging in regular religious practice was not associated with religious literalness or experiential avoidance, while religious literalism was negatively associated with stress. Finally, Evangelicals showed a more regular religious practice than Catholics, while Catholics showed a higher index of religious literality; however, these differences were not associated with mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-55
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • attitudes towards religion
  • experiential avoidance
  • religiosity
  • religious literality


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