Non-Religious People Are More Likely To Be Diagnosed With Mental Illness, Data Shows

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Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
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A deeper analysis of data on mental illness reportedly shows that religious people are less likely to report having mental health conditions than non-religious people.

The 2020 Pew research data initially used to study the startling rise in mental illness among teens found that non-religious people were 14% more likely to have a mental illness than weekly churchgoers, according to Eastern Illinois University Professor Ryan Burge, who specializes in researching the intersection between religiosity and political behavior.

Among liberals who never attended a religious service, 28% told the survey they had been diagnosed with a mental health condition. When liberals participate in weekly church services, the percentage presenting with mental illness drops 14 points, according to Burge.

“I downloaded the data that @JonHaidt uses here to see if religion is moderating the likelihood of reporting mental illness. A never church-attending liberal is nearly 2x as likely to report mental illness compared to a never attending conservative (28% vs 15%),” Burge said.

Only 12% of religious Conservatives have a diagnosed mental illness, whereas 31% of liberals with no religion report having a mental health condition, according to the data. (RELATED: How Silicon Valley Bank’s Wild Implosion Will Set Off A Financial Firestorm)

“This survey was fielded during early lockdown in 2020. Liberals were significantly more likely to feel nervous than conservatives. Attendance had a moderating effect for both. Smaller gaps on lonely or depressed. Again, attendance predicts lower levels of both, though,” Burge continued.

“I made it very simple: do you ID as atheist/agnostic/nothing in particular or with a religious tradition? Nones are more likely to report mental illness compared to religious folks, regardless of ideology,” he added.