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]. Investigators reported results from a 10-year prospective study of 114 adult offspring of depressed ( Of those objective scientific studies, 272 (61%) found that those who were more religious experienced less depression, recovered faster from depression, or experienced a reduction in depression severity in response to a religious or spiritual intervention. Those subjects who had reported at the start of the study that “religion or spirituality was highly important to them had about one-fourth the risk of experiencing major depression … In some populations, however, it appears that R/S involvement is related to higher rates of depression. ). However, in those at high risk due to parental depression, those indicating at baseline that religion or spirituality was highly important to them were 90% less likely to have major depression ( Can Antidepressants Prevent Psoriasis in Depressed Patients? 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. 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. 1030 Vienna, Austria, 2Division of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, RCBT and PCT also showed trends toward lower posttreatment Hamilton Depression Rating Scale scores compared to WLC. This is something many of my fellow atheists often don’t like to admit, but it is true. A systematic review of this literature, presented in the 2001 and 2012 editions of Handbook, identified 141 studies that examined the relationship between R/S and completed suicide, attempted suicide, or attitudes toward suicide. 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]. Furthermore, those unable to live according to these standards may face rejection from their faith community, resulting in social isolation. 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]. Most important, however, was the interaction found with NLEs. Archived. 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]. Poll, “Religiousness and depression: evidence for a main effect and the moderating influence of stressful life events,”, L. Miller, P. Wickramaratne, M. J. Gameroff, M. Sage, C. E. Tenke, and M. M. Weissman, “Religiosity and major depression in adults at high risk: a ten-year prospective study,”, S. Kasen, P. Wickramaratne, and M. J. Gameroff, “Religiosity and resilience in persons at high risk for major depression,”, K. Hawton and K. van Heeringen, “Suicide,”, M. Heikkinen, H. Aro, and J. Lonnqvist, “Recent life events, social support and suicide,”, H. G. Koenig, D. E. King, and V. B. Carson, “Suicide,” in, H. G. Koenig, D. E. King, and V. B. Carson, “Religion and coping,” in, H. G. Koenig, “Religious beliefs and practices of hospitalized medically ill older adults,”, H. G. Koenig, H. J. Cohen, D. G. Blazer et al., “Religious coping and depression among elderly, hospitalized medically ill men,”, H. G. Koenig, L. K. George, and B. L. Peterson, “Religiosity and remission of depression in medically ill oder patients,”, H. G. Koenig, “Religion and remission of depression in medical inpatients with heart failure/pulmonary disease,”, W. E. Broadhead, B. H. Kaplan, and S. A. James, “The epidemiologic evidence for a relationship between social support and health,”. Of the 444 studies, 178 (40%) were rated 7 or higher on the 1-to-10 scale. As more people move away from formal belief and seek meaning through personalized spiritual exploration, there is a proliferation of goods and services related to yoga, eastern practice, meditation centers, spiritual retreats and a variety of other oases for those seeking support and meaning. More recently, psychiatric epidemiologists at Columbia University have examined whether religiosity protects against depression in high risk individuals [30]. Furthermore, pastoral counselors, chaplains, and even community clergy could use such therapies to help many R/S persons that they seek to help. Since we are discussing research, we use the terms religion and spirituality interchangeably (R/S) for two reasons. John Cihak, STD, of the book, The Catholic Guide to Depression: How the Saints, the Sacraments, and Psychiatry Can … 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]. Mormon women and depression, revisited It's still unclear whether Mormon women are more depressed than other women, but we've learned a … Indeed, depression—along with anger, need for control, and impulsiveness—is psychological state often associated with suicide attempts and completed suicide [32]. 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 ( While religion represents deeply rooted belief and practice, usually coming from family and cultural background, spirituality represents a departure from that traditional, familiar support. In contrast, only 6% reported greater depression in those who were more religious. The risk of depression was over a third greater than for those in whom religious belief was higher than spirituality, showing a meaningful difference between religion and spirituality as a protective factor. Depression is widespread around the world. Posted Apr 21, 2018 Indeed, a number of randomized clinical trials have examined whether utilizing patients’ R/S resources in therapy may help to speed the resolution of depression. Review articles are excluded from this waiver policy. The growing trend in urban centers is hard to miss. The studies’ abstracts were then examined to determine if they were qualitative or quantitative. However, spirituality clearly predicted increased depressive symptoms over the decades of the study. Yes, sins in the past like physical abuse, substance abuse and neglect … Interventions that utilize the R/S beliefs of patients have been tested in randomized clinical trials and shown to reduce depressive symptoms, and clinical trials are now examining the effects of religious psychotherapy against standard therapies [62]. Finally, RCT resulted in significantly better social adjustment scores (SAS) compared to the WLC ( Only 4 of 141 (<3%) studies found more suicide attempts, completed suicide, or positive attitudes toward suicide among people with more R/S involvement. ), 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]. 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]. Sign up here as a reviewer to help fast-track new submissions. Why Do Antiheroes Appeal to People With Dark Traits? The greater the extent of religious-spiritual belief, the lower the risk for adverse mental health outcomes including PTSD, alcohol use disorder, major depressive disorder, and suicidal thinking. Overall levels of religion and spirituality together did not predict depression, but were highly correlated, making it difficulty tease them apart in term of depression risk. , trend). Although there are many genetic, developmental, and environmental factors contributing to the onset and maintenance of depression, failure to cope with life stress is often a major underlying factor [10]. Given the high value that religion places on family and children, the loss of a child may be more distressing and associated with more depression, as other research has suggested [46]. Time will tell. 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]. 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. A poorly known fact is that community clergy spend on average about 15% of their time counseling at the local level [54]. If R/S involvement is capable of reducing life stress by helping people to cope better, then it may help to prevent the development of depression or speed the attenuation of a depressive episode and/or depressive symptoms. The prestigious Mayo Clinicreported the following on December 11, 2001: Duke University has established the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health. Directed spiritual practices which include optimistic and other-oriented approaches, for example those emphasizing gratitude, forgiveness and compassion for self and other, are more useful when it comes to improving overall well-being. Neighborhood Psychiatry is a practice of medical professionals dedicated to providing compassionate, high-quality psychiatric care to our patients by focusing on patient-centered, evidence-based collaborative care. Religion, spirituality, and mental health of U.S. military veterans: Results from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study, Journal of Affective Disorders , 2017, Volume 217 , 197 - 204. Exactly why some people take a positive view of religion while others take a negative one is not known, and more studies should be conducted to examine this topic, Newberg said. The Kappa statistic of agreement for categorizing studies as higher quality (ratings of 7 or higher) versus lower quality (ratings less than 7) was 0.49 (indicating good inter-rater agreement [28]). Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, MD, is the author, with Msgr. As noted above, at least 444 original quantitative studies examined the relationship between R/S and depression or the effects of R/S intervention on depression between 1962 and 2010. 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? Why would this be the case? Veterans in the religious-spiritual group also had a greater innate sense of gratitude and purpose in life. Adults also differed by gender in their experiences with depression (9% of women vs. 5% of men). In either case, this could create a self-selected higher risk spiritual-but-not-religious group. 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. Cognition 165 (2017) 137–146. Religious belief and practice is connected with greater resilience for those who enjoy faith and an attachment to god. The researchers found that religious people were more prone to depression, with rates of developing depression in places like the United Kingdom … Given its superficial nature, religious affiliation is a poor indicator of degree of religious involvement or commitment. 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. Religious measures at baseline were personal importance of religion or spirituality, frequency of attendance at religious services, and denomination. Depression rates were highest among young people, leaping by 63 percent for teens and 47 percent for millennials. Sharma V, Marin DB, Koenig HK, Feder A, Iacoviello BM, Southwick SM, Pietrzak RH. 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. In order to explore the possible differences between spirituality and religion when it comes to major depression, in the Journal of Nervous Disease study author Jeffrey Vittengl (2018) looked at epidemiological data from the United States Midlife Development survey. Religion was ultimately good for us and depression rates increasing while religion affiliation is decreasing is not a coincidence. I know a lot of atheists, myself included, would all like to believe that atheists are happier people than religious believers and in many ways we are. At 4-month follow-up, depressive symptoms were significantly higher in the SD group compared to the TAU group ( Adults who have experienced depression are treated at higher rates than teens. As useful components get translated into clinical approaches (including self-care and wellness-oriented models), more people can benefit from secularized spirituality without the downsides which turn off some people. , Several high-quality studies (methodology ratings of 7 or higher on a 1-to-10 scale) published since the year 2000 have found a positive link between R/S and depression in various other settings. Given the great need for better ways to address depression and other mental health issues, burgeoning interest in spirituality from many quarters, and sharp increase in research, we will continue to see more and more integration into both personal practice and conventional healthcare settings. These findings are similar to those of a meta-analysis conducted by Smith and colleagues that was published in 2003 [29], which examined findings on the religion-depression relationship using data from 98,975 subjects involved in 147 studies. ). How Religion and Spirituality Affect Stress and Health. Religion and Mental Health: What Is the Link? ), although the difference disappeared at 8 and 12-month follow-ups. Importance of religion/spirituality also reduced the odds of mood disorder in this group by 74% (OR = 0.26, 95% CI 0.07–0.94). Hawaii - Population diagnosed with depression: 12.8% (35.7% below national median) - Breakdown by sex: 10% rate for men; 15.5% rate for women 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]. A relatively recent meta-analytic review by Smith and colleagues found between-treatments effect size of 0.51 overall and 0.96 for studies which assessed for positive as well as negative outcomes [59]. In this manner, 444 studies were identified that quantitatively measured religious involvement or spirituality; not included here are studies of religious affiliation, which are reported separately (see below). One reason may be the selective reporting of depressive symptoms. 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. A strong support system involving friends and family is a powerful resource for those facing difficult circumstances out of their control. , trend). These latter reports underscore the role that R/S involvement may play in protecting those at high-risk for depression because of a family history of depression, the presence of negative life events, or both. The number of adults who had experienced depression also increased from 14.8 million in 2007 to 17.3 million in 2017, though the share remained the same (7%). For high risk participants (those with depressed parents) with high exposure to NLEs, religious attendance reduced the likelihood of major depression on follow-up by 76% ( The majority of studies (61%) find less depression or faster recovery from depression for those who are more R/S or a better response to an R/S intervention compared to other treatments or controls. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease • Volume 206, Number 5, May 2018. Reality: Depression and other mental illnesses do not disqualify people from leadership or church roles. 0.07–1.08, 17. Raphael Bonelli, Rachel E. Dew, Harold G. Koenig, David H. Rosmarin, Sasan Vasegh, "Religious and Spiritual Factors in Depression: Review and Integration of the Research", Depression Research and Treatment, vol. Interestingly, there weren’t large differences in spirituality versus religiosity as a function of age, gender or ethnicity. , trend). As such, pragmatic research on spirituality and religion identifies what aspects work best—what is protective and growth-promoting, and what is unnecessary or even potentially detrimental. Why are so many people drawn to conspiracy theories in times of crisis? Substance abuse is another factor, along with life stressors. The findings from research on R/S and depression are also consistent with research on the relationship between R/S and suicide. However, in the majority of studies, everything else being equal, R/S involvement is related to less depression, particularly in the context of life stress. Fifty-nine subjects were randomized to these four groups and received 18 therapy sessions over 3 months. ‘‘Spiritual but not religious”: Cognition, schizotypy, and conversion in alternative beliefs. A variety of factors may explain why people of Jewish descent at least appear to be at higher risk. Depression is a well-established risk factor for suicide. ( Pew Research defines millennials as … Interestingly, studies that included subjects experiencing high levels of stress found the buffering effect of religious involvement was 50% stronger ( Space here does not allow a full discussion of this complex and controversial issue, so we refer the reader to other sources [11–13]. Variation: Depression is an indication of unconfessed sin or weak faith, so people with depression are not fit for leadership. Canva #50. The nonaffiliated may, however, have alternative sources of support from nonreligious communities and secular belief systems that compensate for lack of religious connections. Depressive disorder has an enormous impact on a person’s ability to function at work, in relationships, and in other areas of life. , 95% CI 0.96–3.41, Thus, among those with family problems, those living in Catholic countries in Europe with orthodox beliefs, couples in The Netherlands experiencing bereavement, older widowed European widows without a religious affiliation, young men from Providence Rhode Island, and psychiatric inpatients with substance abuse problems, R/S involvement appears to be associated with a greater risk of depression. Get the help you need from a therapist near you–a FREE service from Psychology Today. In the low-risk group without a history of depressed parents, religious variables did not predict the presence of depression at follow-up. In order to distinguish religiosity from spirituality, Vittengl compared combined scores of religion and spirituality (S+R) with scores of religion subtracted from spirituality (S-R). We will be providing unlimited waivers of publication charges for accepted research articles as well as case reports and case series related to COVID-19. 2% to 3% of children ages 6 to 12 may have serious depression. The average effect size (correlation) was small ( Depression is a serious problem with in the greater atheist community and far too often, that depression has led to suicide. 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. 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. 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. ), spirituality has been assessed using questions measuring religion [15, 16]. Close. It also mentioned two additional studies, one apparently related to prayer and treatment of cardiac patients, and the other related to the success of I… Depression "Spiritual But Not Religious" Is Associated With Depression Recent research shows that spirituality predicts depressive symptoms. Furthermore, even those without a formal religious affiliation may nevertheless hold quite devout religious beliefs that are expressed in nonorganizational ways. There are certainly many factors that influence the risk of depression besides R/S, including genetic, developmental, and environmental factors. Krause N & Pargament KI. H. G. Koenig, D. E. King, and V. B. Carson. 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]). However, it does provide some general information about the prevalence of depression in broad religious groups. Mental illness is not a sin. ) and bereavement ( 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]. 8,14 Religious factors become more potent as life stress increases. 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. R/S involvement has also been associated with positive emotions, such as greater life satisfaction, well-being, hope, optimism, and meaning and purpose in life, feelings which help to neutralize the negative emotions that underlie depression and suicide. The study was published in the peer-reviewedJournal of Affective Disorders. ). R/S involvement appears to be related to depression in one way or another. Higher rates of depression in Pentecostals may be due to people with emotional problems self-selecting themselves into Pentecostal groups because of the latter’s strong focus on overcoming emotional problems (many uplifting hymns, strong emphasis on socialization, and positive content of sermons) [25]. For example, in a study of 22,570 older adults in 11 countries of Western Europe, for those countries with high levels of orthodox beliefs or high percentage of Catholics, a cross-sectional positive association between disability and depressive symptoms was more pronounced [44]. Attendance also reduced the effect that parental depression had on mood disorder (interaction 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]. Computer literature searches using Medline and PsychInfo databases were conducted to systematically identify studies on the depression-religion relationship by entering the search words “religion,” “religiosity,” “religiousness,” and “spirituality,” and cross-referencing these with the search term “depression." , 95% CI 0.01–0.92). We are committed to sharing findings related to COVID-19 as quickly as possible. ) and nondepressed parents ( In the Handbook’s systematic review of research on R/S and social support, 82 percent of quantitative studies (61 of 74) reported significant positive relationships between the two [14]. In some populations or individuals, however, religious beliefs may increase guilt and lead to discouragement as people fail to live up to the high standards of their religious tradition. 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]. 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 … 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.”. Qualitative studies were excluded, as were those with samples sizes less than 15 unless they were experimental studies. The Duke University Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health is based in the Center for Aging at Duke and gives opportunities for scholarly trans-disciplinary conversation and the development of collaborative research projects.In respect to the atheism and mental and physical health, the center offers many studies which suggest that theism is more bene… Substance abuse is another factor, along with life stressors consistent with research on the scale... Religious or spiritually integrated psychotherapies for depression does not have to be at higher risk spiritual-but-not-religious group participants... And environmental factors FREE service from Psychology Today illnesses do not disqualify people from leadership or roles! Between R/S involvement appears to be at higher risk spiritual-but-not-religious group between levels of stress found buffering... Equipping these clergy with proven R/S-based psychotherapies would represent an enormous contribution assessments major! 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