Role of Religiosity in the Lives of the Low-Income Population: A Comprehensive Review of the Evidence. Depression

07/10/2009

With the caveat that all the identified mental health research studies are based on cross-sectional data, the answer to the question of whether religiosity is associated with lower incidence of depression for low-income individuals is a qualified yes.

With the caveat that all the research studies focused on mental health are based on cross-sectional data, the answer to the question of whether religiosity is associated with lower incidence of depression for low-income individuals is a qualified yes. In five studies of diverse populations, ranging from cancer patients to single mothers receiving welfare assistance, organizational religiosity, measured by church attendance, is significantly associated with lower rates of depression. With the exception of one study, the frequency of prayer, whether measured by a single question or included in a multiple-item scale, is also positively significantly associated with lower rates of depression. The importance of faith is not associated with depression in the one study that measured this concept. For pregnant women receiving prenatal services in two different regions, there are conflicting results of religiosity and spirituality and their association with depression, which suggests site-specific differences in the effects of religiosity for this population.

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