Religious Faith, Homosexuality, and Psychological Well-Being: A Theoretical and Empirical Review

Rebecca Hamblin, Alan M. Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Individuals who identify as same-sex attracted have a long history of discrimination within many Western societies. Although most of these individuals are raised in families who practice religious faith, gay men and lesbians have traditionally been excluded from many Judeo-Christian religious communities based on teachings that homosexuality is immoral. Research among the general population has shown positive associations between religious practice and psychological well-being, but researchers have only recently begun to focus on these associations among gay men and lesbians. This paper gives a brief overview of empirical literature examining the relationship between religious practices and psychological well-being among the general population, followed by an account of the evolving relationship between religious traditions and homosexuality and a review of qualitative studies depicting conflicts between religious and sexual orientation identities. Next, a review of recent empirical literature on the relationships between religious practices and psychological well-being among gay men and lesbians is given. This paper concludes with a summary of the findings and directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-82
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • homosexuality
  • identity conflict
  • psychological well-being
  • religion
  • religiosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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