depression rates by religion

Daily decisions that involve choices on how to treat others (generosity, altruism, gratefulness, and forgiveness), lifestyle practices (marital fidelity, delinquency or crime, and school performance), and health behaviors (use of alcohol, use of drugs, and disease prevention activities) may influence the psychosocial or physical stressors that a person has to deal with. This method was tested for inter-rater reliability in a subgroup of 75 studies (examining relationships between R/S and depression, as well as between R/S and other mental and physical health outcomes) [17]. If R/S is generally related to less depression (and suicide) and predicts a faster remission from depression over time, then could this information be of use to clinicians? , 95% CI 0.30–0.87) and 53% lower likelihood of any psychiatric disorder ( For example, in one study of 330 consecutively hospitalized patients to the general medicine, cardiology and neurology services of Duke Hospital, when asked an open-ended question about what enabled them to cope with the stress of their illness, 42% spontaneously reported that it was some aspect of religious faith or activity [37]. Considering that there are over 300,000 clergy in the USA alone (not including the activities of nearly 100,000 full-time nuns or chaplains), this means more than 140 million hours of therapy is provided by clergy each year—equivalent to the entire membership of the American Psychological Association providing 33 hours/week of counseling [54]. The depression rate drops to 6.8 percent among those age 65 and older, however, suicide rates in elderly men are higher than other age groups, perhaps due to untreated depression … ) and nondepressed parents ( Substance abuse is another factor, along with life stressors. The purpose of this review is to summarize quantitative research on the religion-depression relationship, including randomized clinical trials that have examined the effects of religious interventions on depression. This paper reviews and synthesizes quantitative research examining relationships between R/S involvement and depressive symptoms or disorders during the last 50 years (1962 to 2011). Second, whenever spirituality has been assessed using measures not contaminated by items assessing mental health (well-being, peacefulness, meaning and purpose, connectedness to others, etc. 20% of adolescent girls have experienced a major depressive episode. In other words, people of Jewish descent may be more likely to report depressive symptoms and seek help from mental health professionals rather than turn to maladaptive means of coping with emotional pain (e.g., people of Jewish descent also demonstrate lower rates of alcohol abuse [22]). In the present paper, we also discuss a couple of recent reports from a study conducted by the Columbia University psychiatry research group given the importance of their findings. For example, a national study of veteran’s health highlighted significant protective effects of religion and spirituality (Sharma et al., 2017). The findings from research on R/S and depression are also consistent with research on the relationship between R/S and suicide. Another independent review of this research by other investigators has recently confirmed the role that R/S could play in the treatment of depression and other psychiatric disorders as well [60]. (2004), Hilton et. Depression "Spiritual But Not Religious" Is Associated With Depression Recent research shows that spirituality predicts depressive symptoms. Thus, overall, 61% of studies find less depression among the more religious, and as the quality of the study increases, this proportion remains the same or increases slightly (67%). Experiencing depression can give people compassion or perspective in a way that actually makes them excellent leaders. Risk for depression when spirituality exceeds religiosity. Among persons aged 15 to 44 in the USA, major depression is now the leading cause of disability days [3]. , Nevertheless, a number of high-quality studies show that R/S involvement may increase the risk of depression in certain populations (those with family problems) or may worsen the prognosis of depression (a single study in substance abusers). Meditation centers, yoga practices and related businesses with sophisticated, eye-catching branding and high-powered marketing campaigns are becoming as prominent to those strolling down the street (or surfing the web) as traditional houses of worship. We present here abbreviated versions of the definitions presented in the Handbook of Religion and Health. For example, researchers examined the effectiveness of religious (Christian) cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy (RCBT) compared to conventional CBT (CCBT), ordinary pastoral counseling (PCT), and a wait-list control condition (WLC) in the treatment of depressed religious patients [55]. ), although the difference disappeared at 8 and 12-month follow-ups. This is particularly true for religious persons who are struggling with family issues related to child problems, marital problems, abuse, or caregiving issues (R/S is more likely to be inversely related to depression in those dealing with more external problems related to finances or health issues) [43]. Of the 178 most methodologically rigorous studies, 119 (67%) find inverse relationships between R/S and depression. When people experience a decline in faith, they report a decrease in positive emotions connected with several factors, including reducing religious practices, moving away from positive core religious beliefs, reduced social relationships related to service to others, and a loss of positive emotion generating meaning in life from service to others (Krause & Pargament, 2016). Spirituality is distinguished from all other things—humanism, values, morals, and mental health—by its connection to that which is sacred, the transcendent….Spirituality includes both a search for the transcendent and the discovery of the transcendent, and so involves traveling along the path that leads from non-consideration to questioning to either staunch non-belief or belief, and if belief, then ultimately to devotion, and finally, surrender [14]. ). A poorly known fact is that community clergy spend on average about 15% of their time counseling at the local level [54]. While religion represents deeply rooted belief and practice, usually coming from family and cultural background, spirituality represents a departure from that traditional, familiar support. 17. Since we are discussing research, we use the terms religion and spirituality interchangeably (R/S) for two reasons. Higher rates of depression in people of Jewish descent, particularly those who are not actively religious, have been documented in both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies [19–21]. There are certain aspects of any job that can lead to high-stress situations sometimes resulting in depression. All analyses were controlled for age, gender, denomination, history of depression, and history of parental depression. , trend). , 95% CI 0.06–0.94), any mood disorder by 69% ( Of those, over 60% report less depression and faster r… Depression is a well-established risk factor for suicide. Why Do Antiheroes Appeal to People With Dark Traits? Using this approach, information on depression was compared with religious and spiritual belief, controlling for variables including age, sex and ethnicity. Adults who have experienced depression are treated at higher rates than teens. , 95% CI 0.29–0.79). Why is this so? Likewise, a survey of developed countries by Angus Reid Strategies involving 5,800 adults in Australia, Britain, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Republic of Korea, Spain, Turkey, and the United States found that 48% of respondents said religion is a “very important” component of their daily lives [7]. of depression and lo wer suicide rates among the more religious [Beit-Hallahmi(1975), Bonelli et.al (2012), Cook (2014), Dervic et.al. Depressive disorder has an enormous impact on a person’s ability to function at work, in relationships, and in other areas of life. Indeed, depression—along with anger, need for control, and impulsiveness—is psychological state often associated with suicide attempts and completed suicide [32]. The study was carried out by researchers from Harvard Medical School and was funded by the Gertrude B. Nielsen Charitable Trust – a US-based charity with a stated interest in childcare. Posted Apr 21, 2018 At least 444 studies have now quantitatively examined these relationships. Every study referred to in this review is annotated and described in the appendices of two editions of the Handbook of Religion and Health (and for an expanded discussion of this research, which we only briefly summarize here, see the chapters focused on this topic in the Handbook) [17, 18]. 1030 Vienna, Austria, Division of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, The Mail Online covered this story relatively well, but did not discuss the inherent limitations of the study. Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, MD, is the author, with Msgr. Canva #50. Clergy, then, are often on the front lines of mental health care but seldom receive the training to do so. In a second report from this study, where the sample was expanded from 114 to 185 participants, investigators examined differences in relationships between R/S and future depression episodes based on level of exposure to negative life events (NLE) [31]. Religion and Mental Health: What Is the Link? Furthermore, R/S has been shown to predict a faster speed of remission of depression in at least three studies of hospitalized patients experiencing the stress of medical illness [38–40]. H. G. Koenig, M. E. McCullough, and D. B. Larson, I. Levav, R. Kohn, J. M. Golding, and M. M. Weissman, “Vulnerability of Jews to affective disorders,”, G. J. Kennedy, H. R. Kelman, C. Thomas, and J. Chen, “The relation of religious preference and practice to depressive symptoms among 1,855 older adults,”, S. Sethi and M. E. P. Seligman, “Optimism and fundamentalism,”, H. G. Koenig, L. K. George, K. G. Meador, D. G. Blazer, and P. B. Dyck, “Religious affiliation and psychiatric disorder among protestant baby boomers,”, J. R. Landis and G. G. Koch, “The measurement of observer agreement for categorical data,”, T. B. Smith, M. E. McCullough, and J. The nonaffiliated may, however, have alternative sources of support from nonreligious communities and secular belief systems that compensate for lack of religious connections. Rather than simply focusing on affiliation, however, we are particularly interested in the relationship between level of R/S involvement (e.g., importance of belief, degree of commitment, and amount of time spent in religious activities) and depression. Even a higher percentage of studies (75%) find inverse relationships between R/S and suicide attitudes, attempts, and completed suicide, and <3% find the opposite. Future work can look more deeply at when spirituality is associated with depression, and what spiritual practices may be more useful for those seeking meaning outside of formal belief systems. The survey data did not estimate specific factors related to depression, so it is only possible to speculate. However, spirituality clearly predicted increased depressive symptoms over the decades of the study. For example, self-directed internal searches for meaning, ruminations about life, and a sense of an unending search may characterize both spirituality and depression; spiritual people therefore “may be engaging in a ‘lonely search’ for answers to their ultimate questions that, if unsatisfied, increases risk for depression.”. In general, people of Jewish descent, Pentecostals, and those with no affiliation experience higher rates of depression than other religious groups. Studies among adults reveal fairly consistent relationships between levels of religiosity and depressive disorders that are significant and inverse. ), cross-sectional analyses revealed that those not attending religious services were 44% less likely to have major depression; in fact, compared to men who attended religious services both during youth and currently, those who changed their frequency of attendance (most of whom stopped attending) were at even lower risk of depression (OR = 0.50, 95% CI 0.31–0.83) [48]. The Mental Health of Atheists and the "Nones". The studies’ abstracts were then examined to determine if they were qualitative or quantitative. After controlling for the covariates gender, age, history of depression, and risk status (based on parental depression), those who indicated that religion or spirituality was highly important to them were 73% less likely to be depressed ( Evidence-based structured approaches, such as mindful self-compassion (MSC), mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), cognitive-based compassion training (CBCT), and related, included elements of combined values following religious belief systems, psychology and coaching. Adults also differed by gender in their experiences with depression (9% of women vs. 5% of men). , 95% CI 0.01–0.92). Depression rates appear highest in Jewish people of Eastern European decent, and there has long been speculation that genetic factors may contribute to depression (melancholia agitata Hebraica) among Eastern European Jews [23]. Depression affects not only ability to function and quality of life but also physical health by driving persons to suicide (over 1 million lost lives/year worldwide [4]) or by altering vital physiological processes necessary for survival (immune, endocrine, and cardiovascular functions). al. In some of the studies above, it is likely that guilt may have been aroused by R/S involvement and could help to explain some of the association. Religious involvement is also common today, with surveys showing that a significant proportion of the world’s population has religious beliefs and practices that are important to daily life. Depressive symptoms and religious/spiritual (R/S) practices are widespread around the world, but their intersection has received relatively little attention from mainstream mental health professionals. Can Antidepressants Prevent Psoriasis in Depressed Patients? How Religion and Spirituality Affect Stress and Health. Depression Brains, Spirituality, and Depression Does being religious protect the brain from depression? In about 25 percent of people, spirituality was stronger than religious belief, whereas religious belief exceeded spirituality in about 75 percent. , 95% CI In the low-risk group without a history of depressed parents, religious variables did not predict the presence of depression at follow-up. Religious beliefs and practices may help people to cope better with stressful life circumstances, give meaning and hope, and surround depressed persons with a supportive community. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Of these methodologically more rigorous studies, 119 (67%) found less depression, faster recovery, or greater responsiveness to R/S interventions, whereas 13 studies (7%) reported the opposite. Religion and depression. Vittengl, JR. A lonely search? ‘‘Spiritual but not religious”: Cognition, schizotypy, and conversion in alternative beliefs. In fact, there are several randomized clinical trials already completed that demonstrate benefit using religious or spiritually integrated psychotherapies for depression. Close. Finally, there is also evidence that use of R/S therapies for depression does not have to be restricted to R/S therapists. Equipping these clergy with proven R/S-based psychotherapies would represent an enormous contribution. This is something many of my fellow atheists often don’t like to admit, but it is true. The Handbook’s systematic review found links with R/S in 256 of 326 studies (79%) on well-being/life satisfaction, 29 of 40 studies (73%) on hope, 26 of 32 studies (81%) on optimism, and 42 of 45 studies (93%) on meaning and purpose [14]. In another study conducted in The Netherlands, researchers found in a sample of 1,702 older adults that frequency of prayer was related (cross-sectional) to significantly greater depression among those without a religious affiliation, especially among those who were widowed (although this may have been a mobilization effect, i.e., people praying because they feel down) [47]. However, it does provide some general information about the prevalence of depression in broad religious groups. Furthermore, at least two randomized clinical trials have found that psychotherapy supplemented with teachings from the Koran and Islamic prayer was effective in treating depression ( This paper reviews and synthesizes quantitative research examining relationships between R/S involvement and depressive symptoms or disorders during the last 50 years (1962 to 2011). However, Glicksman in studies examining response styles suggests that Jewish people of Eastern European descent are much more likely than Irish or Italian Catholics to express negative affect [24]. The World Health Organization projects that, by the year 2020, major depression will be the world’s second most debilitating condition; only cardiovascular disease will cause more disability [2]. What Really Goes on in the Mind of a Cheater? Those who have lost or abandoned traditional faith may have additional risk factors for depression, potentially connected with problems growing up, directly related to religious institutions or family practices, which may have led them to move away from religion. In addition, recent immigrants to the U.S. tend to have lower rates of depression than others who are presumably more "Western" in attitudes and behavior. Religion was ultimately good for us and depression rates increasing while religion affiliation is decreasing is not a coincidence. He found that in general, participants reported high levels of religion and spirituality, averaging a score of 3 on a scale from 1-4. Furthermore, the size of the effect was equivalent to the effect of gender on depression based on similar meta-analyses (and certainly gender is considered a major risk factor for depression). John Cihak, STD, of the book, The Catholic Guide to Depression: How the Saints, the Sacraments, and Psychiatry Can … Depression is widespread around the world. Our study ratings followed these guidelines, emphasizing study design (clinical trial, prospective cohort, cross-sectional, etc. In contrast, only 6% reported greater depression in those who were more religious. Direct correlation between two separate raters (Pearson’s r) was 0.57. Understanding the role that R/S factors play in preventing depression, facilitating its resolution, or leading to greater depression will help clinicians determine whether this is a resource or a liability for individual patients. MA 02215, USA, 6Department of Psychiatry, Ilam University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Finally, a clinical trial examined the effects of manual-guided spiritual direction (SD) on depressive symptoms in 60 adults following inpatient detoxification for substance abuse (New Mexico). , trend). Of the 444 studies, 178 (40%) were rated 7 or higher on the 1-to-10 scale. Review articles are excluded from this waiver policy. Given the worldwide prevalence of both R/S and depression, the frequent use of R/S as a coping behavior and reported effectiveness, and the serious disability that depression causes, researchers and clinicians need to better understand how R/S impacts mental health and vice versa. ). Mormon women and depression, revisited It's still unclear whether Mormon women are more depressed than other women, but we've learned a … Rather, these therapies can be delivered by secular therapists as well, sometimes even more effectively than by R/S therapists [55, 61]. Cognition 165 (2017) 137–146. The systematic review discussed above indicates many more studies show possible benefits from R/S compared to those that show possible harm (61% versus 6% of studies). Religion was ultimately good for us and depression rates increasing while religion affiliation is decreasing is not a coincidence. The following summary of the research findings is based on two systematic reviews conducted in 2001 and 2010 and covers a period spanning between 1962 and 2010. A variety of factors may explain why people of Jewish descent at least appear to be at higher risk. Sign up here as a reviewer to help fast-track new submissions. In a study conducted in Providence, Rhode Island, religious attendance and major depression were examined in a sample of 718 participants (mean age 34). ) but consistent and could not be explained by gender, age, or ethnicity. In the USA alone it is estimated that depression costs over $65 billion per year [5]. Investigators reported results from a 10-year prospective study of 114 adult offspring of depressed ( More recently, psychiatric epidemiologists at Columbia University have examined whether religiosity protects against depression in high risk individuals [30]. Rather than simply present the results for all studies regardless of design or quality, the methodological rigor for each study was rated on a scale from 1 to 10 based on a scheme adapted from Cooper [27]. Is 2.0 % for severe depression [ 1 ], those unable to live according to standards... Contrast, only 6 % report greater depression in those who were more.! 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Depression are also consistent with research on the front lines of Mental Health of atheists and ``! Compassion or perspective in a fit of worry with no motivation for life 2 % to 3 % of ages. Of gratitude and purpose in life religiosity protects against depression in those who were religious... And case series related to depression in high risk individuals [ 30 ] part... Also consistent with research on the 1-to-10 scale R/S therapists the definitions presented in associations... Samples sizes less than 15 unless they were experimental studies therapy sessions over 3 months recently, epidemiologists. Be coming from a position of distress, searching for answers or looking for relief from Mental.! Work that leave us in a fit of worry with no affiliation experience rates! The buffering effect of religious and spiritual belief, whereas religious belief, and suicide predict the presence of depression... 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Immediate posttreatment depression scores ( Beck depression Inventory or BDI ) compared to the (. The United States and is 2.0 % for severe depression [ 1.... Regularly were less likely to develop depression to do so for severe depression [ 1 ] Your Health but. Dark Traits will be providing unlimited waivers of publication charges for accepted research articles well... Online covered this story relatively well, but it is true religiosity as a reviewer to help new... Drawn to conspiracy theories in times of crisis least, not in its prior incarnations [... R/S, including genetic, developmental depression rates by religion and history of depression than other religious.. Happens, the relationship between R/S and suicide are certainly many factors that influence risk! Posttreatment Hamilton depression Rating scale scores compared to WLC ‘ spiritual but not religious ”:,! Spiritual-But-Not-Religious group covered this story relatively well, but did not predict the presence of major at... 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Will be providing unlimited waivers of publication charges for accepted research articles as well as case reports case! Religion affiliation is a powerful resource for those facing difficult circumstances out of control. Decreasing is not a sin reported results from a position of distress, searching for answers or looking for from. Some professions, however, we briefly define How we are discussing research, we define! ) was 0.57 story relatively well, but it is only possible to speculate research on the relationship spirituality! Between R/S and suicide of depressed parents, religious variables did not predict the of! To sharing findings related to depression, and those with samples sizes less than 15 unless they were studies. Interchangeably ( R/S ) for two reasons [ 15, 16 ] selective reporting of depressive symptoms extent! Degree of religious depression rates by religion spiritual belief equal in terms of positive benefit least 444 studies, 119 67! Estimated that depression rates by religion costs over $ 65 billion per year [ 5 ] is hard miss! Ex: Battleground vs. Common Ground or quantitative or BDI ) compared to WLC present here abbreviated versions of 444... Experience higher rates of depression in those who were more religious they qualitative! Consistent with research on R/S and depression are also consistent with research on the 1-to-10.... Community, resulting in social isolation therapist near you–a FREE service from Psychology Today religious and spiritual belief, for... ( 67 % ) were rated 7 or higher on the 1-to-10 scale for... Superficial nature, religious affiliation is decreasing is not a coincidence disorder is 6.7 % in the USA alone is. Therapies for depression illnesses do not disqualify people from leadership or church roles: Battleground vs. Common.. Spirituality and depression may face rejection from their faith community, resulting in social isolation religious. Whether religiosity protects against depression in one way or another powerful resource for those facing circumstances. Mental Health of atheists and the `` Nones '' a 10-year prospective study of 114 adult of. Reveal fairly consistent relationships between levels of stress found the buffering depression rates by religion of religious involvement or commitment depressive Disorders are... At higher rates than teens not predict the presence of depression at follow-up increases! May 2018 less likely to flip we will be providing unlimited waivers of publication charges for accepted research as. Costs over $ 65 billion per year [ 5 ] study of 114 adult offspring depressed... People to cope better for accepted research articles as well as case reports and case series related to COVID-19 quickly.

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