Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Monday 14 June |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Francisa de Paula de Jesus Isabel
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Survey finds religious practice limited stress during pandemic


Pascal Deloche | Godong

J-P Mauro - published on 06/02/21

Respondents suggest that even online Masses helped contribute to a sense of well-being.

A survey conducted in late 2020 has revealed a correlation between religiosity and decreased levels of stress over the course of the pandemic. The Catholic University of America study questioned 1,600 U.S. adults, 40% of whom were Catholic.

Maintaining or increasing one’s religious practice was found to be a boon to mental health during the pandemic. Respondents who placed a high importance on faith reported a greater sense of well-being. Less than 20% of respondents suggested their mental health declined.


Attendance at in-person religious events was the area of sharpest decline, due to church closures. Private religious practice, however, was found to have flourished during the pandemic. As much as 35% of respondents said they have increased the frequency of prayer in the last year. Additionally, study of scripture increased by 19%.

Even with limited church attendance, 15% of respondents said they have increased their attendance at religious services. This group alsotended to be those who said they rarely attended services prior to the pandemic. They were also found to have the lowest mental health scores. 

Online services

Online services were not only found to be effective, but many suggested that the medium should remain in use. Catholic Philly reports 44% of respondents suggested that they would combine in-person and online services, moving forward. A slim minority suggested they would only attend online services. 

In a May 21 webinar hosted by the Catholic University of America, Scott L. Thumma, professor of sociology of religion at Hartford Seminary, suggested that online services should stay. He noted that those who have responded well to online services may stop attending any services should they disappear. He said: 

“There’s a strong push now to not go back to face-to-face.” Worshipers “won’t like it if that goes away. In fact, they may drop back off.”

Surprisingly, a fifth of those questioned reported feeling closer to their faith community. This suggests that the efforts of the Church to keep the faithful connected have been somewhat successful. Further, a solid quarter of the responses suggested religion had become more central to their daily lives. 

Pandemic precautions

When it comes to returning to in-person services, the vast majority believe that pandemic safeguards should stay. As many as 82% of respondents said Mass-goers should continue to wear masks and 81% said they should maintain social distance. Over 60% believed that the lockdown was justified and only 4% believed that the world pandemic was a hoax. 

Read the full study at The Catholic University of America.

CatholicMental HealthUnited States
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
Miracle prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
Lucandrea Massaro
This 3D “carbon copy” of Jesus was created using the ...
Philip Kosloski
Offer your heart to Jesus with this prayer
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
The short prayer Pope Francis says every night
Philip Kosloski
5 Things to know about the Sacred Heart feast
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.