Religious climate and geographical distribution of depressive symptoms in older Dutch citizens

J Affect Disord. 1999 Jul;54(1-2):149-59. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0327(98)00172-4.


This study examines whether the degree of conservatism of the religious climate affects the geographical distribution of late life depressive symptoms. A U-shaped relationship is hypothesized: high levels of depressive symptoms at the extremes (both a-religious and hyperconservative), and a low level in the middle (moderate-conservative). Subjects are 3051 older Dutch citizens (55-85 years), living in 11 municipalities. Depressive symptoms are assessed using the CES-D. Religious climate is estimated on the municipality level, using percentages votes on political parties with a Christian background (moderate-conservative versus hyperconservative). Using multi-level analysis, the results support the U-curve hypothesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Geography
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Religion and Psychology*