religiousness, mental health, religion, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Religious Orientation Scale


Despite the existence of strong viewpoints, the relation between religiousness and mental health is not yet clearly understood. The Religious Orientation Scale has provided researchers with a valuable tool for differentiating between intrinsic (/) and extrinsic (E) religious orientations, thereby clarifying some of the confusion in this area. In the present study we assessed correlations between these two scales and anxiety, personality traits, self-control, irrational beliefs, and depression. Results generally indicated that / is negatively correlated with anxiety and positively correlated with self-control and "better" personality functioning, whereas the opposite is true ofE. Correlations were generally not found with irrational beliefs or depression. By dividing subjects into a fourfold typology, we discovered that 98.6% of the present sample of religious students were "intrinsics." When their personality scores wer6 compared with those of other normal populations, trends slightly favoring this intrinsic sample were observed. Thus, these results indicated that / is related to "normality" and that religiousness is not necessarily indicative of emotional disturbance. Some implications for counseling are suggested.

Original Publication Citation

Bergin, A.E., Masters, K.S., & Richards, P.S. (1987). Religiousness and mental health reconsidered: A study of an intrinsically religious sample. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 34, 197-204.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Counseling Psychology




David O. McKay School of Education


Counseling Psychology and Special Education

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor