Dr Maxinne Panagopoulos

UHI Inverness

Twitter: @MaxinneConnolly

Available to talk to the media about

  • Psychology of religion
  • Meaning making
  • Religion and mental health
  • Religious conversion
  • Iranian Migrants
  • Christianity

In these languages



I am a researcher situated within the field of psychology of religion. My current research includes looking at perceptions of mental illness among Evangelical Christians and the impact this has on recovery. My PhD investigated religious conversion from Islam to Christianity among Iranian migrants. My thesis aimed to understand why individuals had abandoned their previous Islamic religion and converted to Christianity, especially when doing so was often associated with great threat to life. Thus, I explored the function and process of religious change through deep qualitative investigation and analysis using Meaning Systems Theory and Terror Management Theory. My work researches all aspects of identity, mental health and religion.

Current research

  • Belief in the demonic in relation to mental illness evangelical Christians
  • Belief in a higher power in relation to alcoholism and recovery
  • Perceptions of climate change among evangelical Christians
  • Religious deconversion and trauma

Research groups and interests

Christian, mental illness, addiction, alcoholism, Iranian migrants, religious conversion.

Selected publications

1. Lloyd, C. E., & Panagopoulos, M. C. (2022). ‘Mad, bad, or possessed’? Perceptions of Self-Harm and Mental Illness in Evangelical Christian Communities. Pastoral Psychology, 1-21. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11089-022-01005-3

2. The Psychology of Religion: Examining religious conversion among Iranian migrants in Glasgow https://www.researchgate.net/publication/344250467_The_Psychology_of_Religion_Examining_religious_conversion_among_Iranian_migrants_in_Glasgow

3. A many-analysts approach to the relation between religiosity and well-being. Hoogeveen, Suzanne & Sarafoglou, Alexandra & Aczel, Balazs & Aditya, Yonathan & Alayan, Alexandra & Allen, Peter & Altay, Sacha & Alzahawi, Shilaan & Amir, Yulmaida & Anthony, Francis-Vincent & Appiah, Obed & Atkinson, Quentin & Baimel, Adam & Balkaya-Ince, Merve & Balsamo, Michela & Banker, Sachin & Bartoš, František & Becerra, Mario & Beffara, Bertrand & Wagenmakers, Eric-Jan. (2022). A many-analysts approach to the relation between religiosity and well-being. Religion Brain & Behavior. 10.1080/2153599X.2022.2070255.

4. Podcast for the Religious Studies Project - Navigating stasis and mobility: The journey of anointing oil https://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/podcast/navigating-stasis-and-mobility-the-journey-of-anointing-oil/

5. Religious Studies Podcast: Exploring African Shamanism and White Sangomas in South Africa. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/344249206_Religious_Studies_Podcast_Exploring_African_Shamanism_and_White_Sangomas_in_South_Africa