The effect of prayer on depression and anxiety: maintenance of positive influence one year after prayer intervention.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether the effect of direct contact person-to-person prayer on depression, anxiety, and positive emotions is maintained after 1 year. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: One-year follow-up of subjects with depression and anxiety who had undergone prayer intervention consisting of six weekly 1-hour prayer sessions conducted in an office setting. Subjects (44 women) completed Hamilton Rating Scales for Depression and Anxiety, Life Orientation Test, and Daily Spiritual Experiences Scale after finishing a series of six prayer sessions and then again a month later in an initial study. The current study reassessed those subjects with the same measures 1 year later. One-way repeated measures ANOVAs were used to compare findings pre-prayer, immediately following the six prayer sessions, and 1 month and again 1 year following prayer interventions. RESULTS: Evaluations post-prayer at 1 month and 1 year showed significantly less depression and anxiety, more optimism, and greater levels of spiritual experience than did the baseline (pre-prayer) measures (p < 0.01 in all cases). CONCLUSIONS: Subjects maintained significant improvements for a duration of at least 1 year after the final prayer session. Direct person-to-person prayer may be useful as an adjunct to standard medical care for patients with depression and anxiety. Further research in this area is indicated.
Boelens, PA; Reeves, RR; Replogle, WH; Koenig, HG
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