Religiosity could play an important role in the mental balance of young people, a significant portion of whom are characterized by insecurity and uncertainty about the present and the future. This article is a review of the literature on the relationship between religiosity and the mental health of adolescents and young adults. Religiosity - which includes the term spirituality - in adolescents and young adults has been shown to act as a potential protective factor against psychopathology like depression, anxiety, stress and drug use but also as an enhancer of normal psychological characteristics (e.g., resilience, self-control, personality traits). Also, religiosity is positively associated with life satisfaction. Greek literature, though limited, has highlighted the positive effects of religiosity on mental health, similar to the international literature, both in the general and clinical population. Even if most studies have reported positive associations between religiosity and mental health, a minority of other studies report mixed or fully negative associations. The difference of findings in associations between religiosity and mental health could be due to assessment problems of religiosity. Many factors have been used to evaluate religiosity, but the three-factor model (organizational, non-organizational or private, and intrinsic or subjective religiosity) is the most comprehensive model for investigating religiosity. Parents play an important role in the development of religiosity in adolescents and young adults, as they influence their psycho- emotional development. This effect is related to the degree, type and harmony of the religiosity of the parents themselves but also the parent-child bond. There are still substantial gaps in research on the mediating effect of religiosity on the mental health of young people. An example is the protective combined role of religiosity and self-control against substance use. Self-control and religiosity could play an important role in the mental balance of young adults. Although for the most part it seems that religiosity improves mental health, future work in this area should consider the mediating factors in this relationship.

KEYWORDS: adolescence, young adults, mental health, religiosity, spirituality

Panagiotis N. Papanikolopoulos, Stergios G. Kaprinis


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