Beliefs about life-after-death, psychiatric symptomology and cognitive theories of psychopathology


Journal Article

The present study examined the association between mental health and pleasant and unpleasant beliefs about life-after-death, using data from a national web-based survey of U.S. adults. Regression analyses were conducted on five pleasant and two unpleasant afterlife beliefs using six classes of psychiatric symptoms as dependent variables: anxiety, depression, obsession-compulsion, paranoid ideation, social anxiety and somatization. As hypothesized, pleasant afterlife beliefs were associated with better, and unpleasant beliefs were associated with poorer mental health, controlling for age, gender, education, race, income and marital status, social support, prayer and church attendance. The results are discussed in the context of cognitive theories of psychopathology and psychotherapy that propose that many psychiatric symptoms are caused and moderated by beliefs about the dangerousness of, or threat of harm posed by, various situations. Suggestions are made for future research that differentiates between psychiatric symptoms that may be influenced to varying degrees by cognitive input, and therefore beliefs. Copyright 2008 by Rosemead School of Psychology.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Flannelly, KJ; Ellison, CG; Galek, K; Koenig, HG

Published Date

  • June 1, 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 36 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 94 - 103

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0091-6471

Citation Source

  • Scopus