Effects of religious versus conventional cognitive-behavioral therapy on generosity in major depression and chronic medical illness: A randomized clinical trial


Journal Article

© 2015 American Psychological Association. Generosity can be an effective coping strategy for dealing with mental and physical health problems. This study examined whether religiously-integrated cognitive behavioral therapy (RCBT) was more effective than conventional CBT (CCBT) on increasing generosity among religious persons with major depressive disorder (MDD) and chronic medical illness (CMI). Participants (N = 132) with MDD and CMI were randomized to receive 10 sessions of RCBT or CCBT. Assessment measures administered at baseline, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks included the Interpersonal Generosity Scale, a 29-item scale for religious involvement, and depression diagnosis and severity. Effects of treatment group on generosity were examined from baseline through 24 weeks. Mixed effect regression models were used to compare trajectories of change in generosity. Also examined were the effect of baseline religiosity on generosity trajectory and the effect of baseline generosity on depressive symptom trajectory. Generosity increased significantly over time; however, no significant difference was found between RCBT and CCBT in their effects on generosity. Client religiosity did not moderate these effects. However, higher baseline religiosity predicted increases in generosity over time independent of treatment group. Although greater baseline generosity did not predict a faster decline in depressive symptoms over time, an increase in generosity during treatment was associated with a decline in depressive symptoms. In conclusion, both RCBT and CCBT led to an increase in generosity. Higher baseline religiosity predicted an increase in generosity over time regardless of treatment group, and an increase in generosity during treatment was associated with a decline in depressive symptoms over time.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Pearce, MJ; Koenig, HG; Robins, CJ; Daher, N; Shaw, SF; Nelson, B; Berk, LS; Bellinger, D; Cohen, HJ; King, MB

Published Date

  • September 1, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 2 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 202 - 215

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2326-4519

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2326-4500

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/scp0000076

Citation Source

  • Scopus