Who Are the Religious “Dones?”: A Cross-Cultural Latent Profile Analysis of Formerly Religious Individuals

Aaron T. McLaughlin, Don E. Davis, Kenneth G. Rice, Daryl R. van Tongeren, Kelly Teahan, C. Nathan DeWall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Identifying as nonreligious is increasingly more common in the United States. However, up until recently the field has been slow to understand differences in experience among those who have never been religious and those who have deidentified from religion. In addressing this gap, we sought to first identify differing motivations for deidentifying from religion (pilot study, n = 153). In our primary study, we sought to explore whether there are different types of religious dones in a cross-cultural sample (United States n = 206; Netherlands n = 288; Hong Kong n = 149) and whether there are meaningful differences in behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes among these different types. Results revealed two distinct profiles of religious dones based on their experience of religious beliefs, behaviors, attitudes, and affiliation: discontinuing religious dones, and still practicing religious dones. This research addressed gaps in understanding nuanced differences among those who formerly but no longer identify as religious, and also offered additional evidence to support the religious residue effect hypothesis in that many religious dones continued to demonstrate religious beliefs and behaviors (Van Tongeren, DeWall, Chen, Sibley, & Bulbulia, 2020). The discontinuing group endorsed less religious behaviors and practices as well as more neutral attitudes toward religion and religious individuals, while the still practicing engaged in more religious and spiritual behaviors and also held more positive attitudes toward religion and religious individuals. Additionally, the still practicing reported more mental health concerns related to affect, anxiety, and depression than did the discontinuing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-524
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology of Religion and Spirituality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Psychological Association


  • Religious deidentification
  • Religious dones
  • Religious residue effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Religious studies
  • Applied Psychology


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