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Psychological changes during faith exit: A three-year prospective study
Harry Hui,C.1; Cheung,Sing Hang1; Lam,Jasmine1,4; Ying Lau,Esther Yuet1,2; Cheung,Shu Fai3; Yuliawati,Livia1
Source PublicationPsychology of Religion and Spirituality

This prospective study explored psychological changes during faith exit and attempted to identify individual characteristics of believers who would within a 3-year time frame become disengaged from their faith. Data were collected from 632 Chinese Protestant Christians, of whom 188 left their faith within 3 years after the 1st survey. The faith exiters' subsequent changes in personality, beliefs, and values, if any, were not any different from what were observed among other Christians. The only exceptions were that fate control belief and stimulation value increased more and religiosity social axiom declined more among the exiters than among those who stayed in faith. Latent growth mixture modeling indicated that about half of the faith exiters would initially experience an improvement in psychological symptoms, and the other half a deterioration. Poor quality of life at baseline was a risk factor for increase in psychological symptoms postexit. Besides being more likely to be a university student, the would-be exiters had a beliefs and values profile that was more similar to that of the nonbelievers than of the believers in other studies. However, with the exception of low emotional stability, the Big Five did not predict exit. The findings strongly suggest that changes in beliefs and values might have begun long before the actual faith exit, whereas personality change, if any, might take a long time after the transition. Changes in psychological symptoms after faith exit can be multitrajectory.

KeywordChristianity Conversion Growth Mixture Modeling Longitudinal Study Religious Transition
URLView the original
Indexed BySSCI
WOS Research AreaPsychology ; Religion
WOS SubjectPsychology, Multidisciplinary ; Religion
WOS IDWOS:000431851000001
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Cited Times [WOS]:8   [WOS Record]     [Related Records in WOS]
Document TypeJournal article
Corresponding AuthorCheung,Sing Hang
Affiliation1.Department of PsychologyThe University of Hong Kong,Hong Kong
2.Department of Psychology and Centre for Psychosocial HealthThe Education University of Hong Kong,Hong Kong
3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Macau,Macao
4.Department of PsychologyTemple University,United States
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
Harry Hui,C.,Cheung,Sing Hang,Lam,Jasmine,et al. Psychological changes during faith exit: A three-year prospective study[J]. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality,2018,10(2):103-118.
APA Harry Hui,C.,Cheung,Sing Hang,Lam,Jasmine,Ying Lau,Esther Yuet,Cheung,Shu Fai,&Yuliawati,Livia.(2018).Psychological changes during faith exit: A three-year prospective study.Psychology of Religion and Spirituality,10(2),103-118.
MLA Harry Hui,C.,et al."Psychological changes during faith exit: A three-year prospective study".Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 10.2(2018):103-118.
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