The Shmooze

Belief in Benevolent God Reduces Stress

By Michael Kaminer

  • Print
  • Share Share

Are Jews more anxious because we believe in a vengeful God? A new study suggests that might be the case.

“Researchers at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital have found that those who believe in a benevolent God tend to worry less and be more tolerant of life’s uncertainties than those who believe in an indifferent or punishing God,” according to the Health24 web site. The researchers published their findings in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

The McLean Hospital paper reports data from two separate studies, Health24 reports. One questioned 332 subjects, including Christians and Jews, recruited from religious web sites and religious organizations. The trial found “that those who trusted in God to look out for them had lower levels of worry and less intolerance of uncertainty in their lives than those who had a ‘mistrust’ of God to help them out,” according to Health24.

In the second study, researchers tracked 125 subjects culled from Jewish organizations only. The subjects viewed materials that aimed to either “increase trust in God and decrease mistrust in God,” Health24 said. Participants in the two-week program reported significant increases in trust in God and significant decreases in mistrust in God, as well as clinically and statistically significant decreases in intolerance of uncertainty, worry and stress.

The point of the whole exercise? To “urge mental health professionals to integrate patients’ spiritual beliefs into their treatment regimens, especially for patients who are religious,” Health24 writes. “The implications of this paper for the field of psychiatry are that we have to take patients’ spirituality more seriously than we do,” lead author David H. Rosmarin, PhD, said.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Stress, Psychology, Health24, Anxiety

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.