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Healthcare 2017, 5(2), 19; doi:10.3390/healthcare5020019

Healthcare Engagement as a Potential Source of Psychological Distress among People without Religious Beliefs: A Systematic Review

Intermountain Healthcare, Logan, UT 84341, USA
Department of Psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA
Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ian Walsh and Helen Noble
Received: 9 March 2017 / Revised: 21 March 2017 / Accepted: 24 March 2017 / Published: 5 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humanities and Healthcare)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [359 KB, uploaded 5 April 2017]   |  


Research into religion and mental health is increasing, but nonbelievers in terms of religion are often overlooked. Research has shown that nonbelievers experience various forms of psychological distress and that the negative perception of nonbelievers by others is a potential source of distress. This review builds on that research by identifying another potential source of psychological distress for nonbelievers: engagement with the healthcare system. Poor understanding of nonbelievers by healthcare professionals may lead to impaired communication in the healthcare setting, resulting in distress. Attempts by nonbelievers to avoid distress may result in different patterns of healthcare utilization. Awareness of these concerns may help healthcare providers to minimize distress among their nonbelieving patients. View Full-Text
Keywords: religion; atheism; agnosticism; mental health; psychological distress religion; atheism; agnosticism; mental health; psychological distress

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Weber, S.R.; Lomax, J.W., II; Pargament, K.I. Healthcare Engagement as a Potential Source of Psychological Distress among People without Religious Beliefs: A Systematic Review. Healthcare 2017, 5, 19.

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