Religious involvement is associated with greater purpose, optimism, generosity and gratitude in persons with major depression and chronic medical illness.
OBJECTIVE: Religious involvement may help individuals with chronic medical illness cope better with physical disability and other life changes. We examine the relationships between religiosity, depressive symptoms, and positive emotions in persons with major depression and chronic illness. METHODS: 129 persons who were at least somewhat religious/spiritual were recruited into a clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of religious vs. secular cognitive behavioral therapy. Reported here are the relationships at baseline between religious involvement and depressive symptoms, purpose in life, optimism, generosity, and gratefulness using standard measures. RESULTS: Although religiosity was unrelated to depressive symptoms (F=0.96, p=0.43) and did not buffer the disability-depression relationship (B=-1.56, SE 2.90, p=0.59), strong relationships were found between religious indicators and greater purpose, optimism, generosity, and gratefulness (F=7.08, p<0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Although unrelated to depressive symptoms in the setting of major depression and chronic medical illness, higher religious involvement is associated with positive emotions, a finding which may influence the course of depression over time.
Koenig, HG; Berk, LS; Daher, NS; Pearce, MJ; Bellinger, DL; Robins, CJ; Nelson, B; Shaw, SF; Cohen, HJ; King, MB
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