A review and conceptual model of the research on doubt, disaffiliation, and related religious changes

Adam Robert Fisher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

This essay reviews the research in psychology, as well as anthropology, religious studies, and sociology on changes related to exiting religion, and organizes the relevant constructs into a conceptual model to illustrate a process that an individual transitioning toward irreligion may experience. Specific constructs examined include questioning, doubt, reconfiguration of faith, switching, changes to irreligious identities or "deconversion," disaffiliation, and opposition to previously held religious beliefs. Limitations and problems regarding the constructs and accompanying research are discussed utilizing recent advances in the literature such as Cragun and Hammer's (2011) work on proreligious hegemony and bias in terminology. Finally, suggestions for future research are discussed, and implications for clinicians working with individuals experiencing religious changes are outlined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)358-367
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology of Religion and Spirituality
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

Keywords

  • apostasy
  • disaffiliation
  • doubt
  • irreligion
  • religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Religious studies
  • Applied Psychology

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