Prevalence, Predictors, and Implications of Religious/Spiritual Struggles Among Muslims

Hisham Abu-Raiya*, Julie J. Exline, Kenneth I. Pargament, Qutaiba Agbaria

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


The current investigation explored prevalence, predictors, and psychological implications of religious and spiritual (r/s) struggles among an Israeli-Palestinian, Muslim sample. R/s struggle was assessed by the Religious and Spiritual Struggles Scale (Exline et al. 2014), a newly developed scale that assesses a wide array of r/s struggles. Factor analysis of the scale in this study revealed five factors of struggle: Divine and Doubt, Punitive Entities, Interpersonal, Moral, and Ultimate Meaning. Of the 139 Muslim participants, between 1.4 percent and 40.2 percent experienced various r/s struggles. Positive God image and fundamentalism predicted lower levels of struggle, whereas negative God image and universality predicted higher levels of struggle. After controlling for religious variables, we found that both depressive symptoms and generalized anxiety were predicted by Punitive Entities and Ultimate Meaning struggles, while satisfaction with life was predicted by Interpersonal struggle. Possible explanations and implications of the findings are offered, and the limitations of the study are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-648
Number of pages18
JournalJournal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • Israeli-Palestinians
  • Mental health
  • Muslims
  • Religious/spiritual struggles


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