Psychological Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

Religiosity and religious scrupulosity as markers of poor mental health in the Latinx community: A mediation model

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Research shows that religiosity (i.e., identification with and involvement in organized religion) and religious scrupulosity, a type of obsessive–compulsive disorder-like preoccupation with sin and God's wrath, are often misconstrued for one another. As such, the available literature demonstrating a link between religiosity and mental health impairment is likely confounded by the overlap between religiosity and religious scrupulosity. Although this overlap has been examined in other cultural groups, there is no empirical research on this relation within the Latinx community, which continues to grow within the United States. We hypothesized the relation between religiosity and mental health impairment would be fully mediated by religious scrupulosity in the Latinx community. A total of 636 consenting participants (Mage = 21.07, SD = 3.12; 68.55% female), all of whom self-identified as Latinx, completed The Religious Commitment Inventory (i.e., religiosity), Penn Inventory of Scrupulosity-Revised (i.e., religious scrupulosity), and Yale-Brown Obsessive–Compulsive Scale (i.e., clinically significant impairment). Data were analyzed using multiple linear regression analyses with age, gender, and religion serving as covariates. Results supported hypotheses, such that religious scrupulosity explained the significant relation between religiosity and impairment, which disappeared when religious scrupulosity was included as an independent variable in analyses. Results suggest the importance of understanding the distinction between religiosity and religious scrupulosity in the Latinx community, so clinicians do not over-pathologize normal cultural ideals or miss evidence of psychopathology warranting clinical attention.


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