The relationship between religion and anxiety in a sample of community dwelling older adults
The relationship between religion and anxiety was examined in a sample of 1299 adults age 60 or over participating in Wave II of the Piedmont NIMH Epidemiologic Catchment Area survey. Religious variables included church attendance, prayer and Bible reading, religious TV viewing, importance of religion, religious denomination, and 'born again' status. Uncontrolled analyses indicated that anxiety symptoms were negatively related to church attendance, but positively related to religious TV viewing, 'born again' status, and Pentacostal or conservative affiliations. When sociodemographic and health factors were controlled, however, these associations lost their significance. Uncontrolled rates of anxiety disorder (6-month and lifetime) also tended to be higher among elders who frequently prayed or read the Bible, and simple phobia was more common among Pentacostals and conservative Protestants; again, however, when socioeconomic status, number of chronic illnesses, sex, and recent life events were taken into account, these differences disappeared. Based upon largely cross-sectional data and relatively limited measures of religiosity, we conclude that there is no relationship between religion and anxiety in later life. Dynamic factors possibly masking significant relationships are discussed.
Koenig, HG; George, LK; Blazer, DG; Pritchett, JT; Meador, KG
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