Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Karen Carlson, Ph.D., LICSW


Social Work


Extensive research has been done on various religious groups, but few studies have looked at the experiences of atheists. This study investigated how perceived support from friends and family impacts atheists on facets of psychological wellbeing. Five atheist organizations were contacted, and asked to forward the survey onto their list servers. Five hundred eighty-three self-identified atheists participated in this study. Participants were given the Ryff Psychological Wellbeing scales and were asked questions related to how much support participants received from friends and family regarding their non-beliefs. Results indicate that atheists who received more support from friends and family score statistically significantly higher on positive relations with others, autonomy, purpose in life and self-acceptance. These results suggest how friends and family members treat individuals who identify as atheist can impact their long-term development and wellbeing. Additionally, this study offers some suggestions that atheist organizations can implement to provide outreach to their members.

Included in

Social Work Commons