Older adults' preferences for religion/spirituality in treatment for anxiety and depression

Aging Ment Health. 2011 Apr;15(3):334-43. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2010.519326.


Objectives: To examine patient preferences for incorporating religion and/or spirituality into therapy for anxiety or depression and examine the relations between patient preferences and religious and spiritual coping styles, beliefs and behaviors.

Method: Participants (66 adults, 55 years or older, from earlier studies of cognitive-behavioral therapy for late-life anxiety and/or depression in primary care) completed these measures by telephone or in-person: Geriatric Anxiety Inventory, Client Attitudes Toward Spirituality in Therapy, Patient Interview, Brief Religious Coping, Religious Problem Solving Scale, Santa Clara Strength of Religious Faith, and Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness and Spirituality. Spearman's rank-order correlations and ordinal logistic regression examined religious/spiritual variables as predictors of preferences for inclusion of religion or spirituality into counseling.

Results: Most participants (77-83%) preferred including religion and/or spirituality in therapy for anxiety and depression. Participants who thought it was important to include religion or spirituality in therapy reported more positive religious-based coping, greater strength of religious faith, and greater collaborative and less self-directed problem-solving styles than participants who did not think it was important.

Conclusion: For individuals like most participants in this study (Christians), incorporating spirituality/religion into counseling for anxiety and depression was desirable.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mind-Body Therapies
  • Patient Preference / psychology*
  • Patient-Centered Care / organization & administration
  • Pilot Projects
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Spirituality*
  • Telephone
  • United States