CLEVELAND, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Many people say they are "angry at God" -- even some who don't believe in God, a U.S. researcher says.
Julie Exline, a psychologist at Case Western Reserve University, says anger toward God often coincides with deaths, illnesses, accidents or natural disasters, as well as personal disappointments, failures or interpersonal hurts.
The study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, finds Protestants, African-Americans and older people tend to report less anger at God. People who do not believe in God may still harbor anger and anger toward God is most distressing when it is frequent, intense or chronic.
"Many people experience anger toward God," Exline says in a statement. "Even people who deeply love and respect God can become angry. Just as people become upset or angry with others, including loved ones, they can also become angry with God."
Overcoming anger at God, she says, may require some of the same steps needed to resolve other anger issues.
Exline has researched anger toward God during the past decade, conducting studies with hundreds of people, including college students, cancer survivors and grief-stricken family members.