Spirituality and depressive symptoms in a racially diverse US sample of community-dwelling adults

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2006 Dec;194(12):975-7. doi: 10.1097/01.nmd.0000243825.14449.de.


The role of spirituality in depression is understudied. We examined the relationship between one dimension of spirituality, spiritual experiences, and depressive symptoms, and evaluated whether differences in gender, race, age, and stress moderated the relationship. The study was conducted with a community-based sample of 630 racially diverse middle-aged and older adults. Structural equation modeling was used to estimate a model linking spiritual experiences to depressive symptoms while controlling for demographic and health variables. Spiritual experiences were operationalized using six items of the Daily Spiritual Experiences Scale. Sample items included, "I feel God's presence," and, "I feel comfort in my religion or spirituality." The model achieved satisfactory goodness of fit. Spiritual experiences were significantly associated with fewer depressive symptoms, and age as well as stress moderated the association, but not gender and race. Spirituality appears to be a psychosocial resource against depressive symptoms, although the results must be confirmed in longitudinal investigations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black People / psychology*
  • Black People / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Personality Inventory
  • Sex Factors
  • Spirituality*
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People / psychology*
  • White People / statistics & numerical data