Identifying well-being profiles and resilience characteristics in ex-members of fundamentalist Christian faith communities

Myriam Verena Thoma, Shauna L Rohner, Eva Heim, Rahel M Hermann, Melanie Roos, Keegan W. M. Evangelista, Urs M. Nater, Jan Höltge

There is a lack of empirical research on the heterogeneity in well-being of individuals who disaffiliated (i.e., left or were expelled) from an exclusionary and demanding faith community. Thus, little quantitative knowledge exists on factors related to resilience in these individuals. Therefore, the study aims were twofold: (1) to identify profiles of well-being in ex-members; and (2) to examine the characteristics of the identified profiles. A cross-sectional online survey assessed ex-members of various fundamentalist Christian faith communities. Latent profile analysis identified latent heterogeneity within the sample. Well-being profile indicators included perceived stress, psychopathological symptoms, affect, and satisfaction with life. Profile-related characteristics included socio-demographics (i.e., gender, age), membership (i.e., reason for joining, duration, extent of involvement, reasons for exit, social support during exit, and time since the exit), and resilience-supporting resources (i.e., social support, self-esteem, sense of coherence, personality, socio-economic status). In the final sample (N = 622, Mage = 41.34 years; 65.60% female), four distinct profiles were identified: resilient (25.70%), normative (36.40%), vulnerable (27.20%), and adverse (10.70%). The resilient profile was characterized by higher age, lower reporting of abuse or maltreatment as exit reason, and highest levels of resilience-supporting resources. Ex-members of fundamentalist Christian faith communities differ substantially in their well-being. Membership aspects were only weakly related to current well-being, with the exception of the exit reason of abuse or maltreatment. This study provided novel quantitative insights into the well-being profiles of individuals who disaffiliated from a fundamentalist Christian faith community in German-speaking countries. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Institut für Klinische und Gesundheitspsychologie, Forschungsplattform The Stress of Life - Processes and Mechanisms underlying Everyday Life Stress
Externe Organisation(en)
Universität Zürich (UZH), University of Hawaii at Manoa
Stress and Health
Anzahl der Seiten
ÖFOS 2012
501010 Klinische Psychologie
ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete
Psychiatry and Mental health, Clinical Psychology, Applied Psychology
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