Losing my religion: A preliminary study of changes in belief pattern after sexual assault

Menachem Ben-Ezra, Yuval Palgi, Dina Sternberg, Dina Berkley, Hadar Eldar, Yael Glidai, Liron Moshe, Amit Shrira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of the present study was to examine the impact of sexual trauma on changes in religious perception, subjective health, and mental health among sexual assault victims. A total of 111 Jewish women participated in the study, including 51 sexual assault victims and 60 comparisons matched on age, religion, and marital status. The study was of a retrospective, cross-sectional design. Approximately half of the women (47.5%) who suffered sexual assault changed their religious perception and belief in the direction of secularization. In addition, these women exhibited elevated psychiatric symptoms and lower well-being relative to the comparison group. The results of the preliminary study revealed changes in belief patterns due to psychological trauma. Mental health professionals should take these aspects into consideration when treating women who suffered sexual trauma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-13
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Faith
  • PTSD
  • Religious belief
  • Sexual assault
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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