longitudinal study; religion; mental health; Mormon


In 1984, 1987, and 2001, data were collected on a religiously devout group of college students (N=53) in an effort to better understand the process of religious development and the relationship between religiosity and mental health. This study analyzes those data by examining the relationship between devoutness and psychopathology over time, the correlations between intrinsic religiosity and indices of psychopathology, the stability of religious motivations over the course of adulthood, and the stability of two different religious development styles that were identified in 1984. This study found that (1) these religiously devout individuals have consistently fallen within the normal range on the clinical scales of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and have demonstrated continual reduction in their scores on those scales; (2) there were no correlations between scores of intrinsic religiosity and psychopathology; (3) these participants’ religious motivations remained stable over the course of adulthood; and (4) most of the participants eventually manifested a continuous style of religious development. This study was originally part of a Dissertation which can be found here.

Original Publication Citation

Bartz, J. D., Richards, P. S., Smith, T. B., & Fischer, L. (2010). A 17-year longitudinal study of religion and mental health in a Mormon sample. Mental Health, Religion, & Culture, 13, 683-695.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Taylor & Francis




David O. McKay School of Education


Counseling Psychology and Special Education