Religion and anxiety disorder: An examination and comparison of associations in young, middle-aged, and elderly adults


Journal Article

We examined and compared associations between religious variables and anxiety disorders in 1025 young (ages 18 to 39), 645 middle-aged (ages 40 to 59), and 1299 elderly (ages 60 to 97) community-dwelling adults who participated 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. Both six-month (recent) and life-time anxiety disorders were examined. All analyses were controlled for sex, chronic illnesses, recent negative life events, and socioeconomic status using the Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel method. In young adults, rates of anxiety disorder were lower among frequent church attenders, mainline Protestants, and those considering themselves "born again". On the other hand, anxiety disorder was more frequent among younger adults affiliated with fundamentalist Pentecostal religious groups, those with no religious affiliation, and frequent religious TV viewers or radio listeners. Among middle-age adults, social phobia was less common among frequent church attenders and those considering themselves "born again", although these differences disappeared when social support was controlled for. As reported elsewhere, there was no relationship between religion and anxiety disorder in older adults. These findings suggest a pattern of both positive and negative relationships between religion and anxiety disorder that is most evident among uoung adults age 18 to 39, and weakens with age as dynamic factors increase the complexity of these relationships. © 1993.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Koenig, MDMSHG; Ford, MDSM; George, PDLK; Blazer, MDPDDG; Meador, MDTMKG

Published Date

  • January 1, 1993

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 7 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 321 - 342

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0887-6185

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/0887-6185(93)90028-J

Citation Source

  • Scopus