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. 1998 May;53(3):S118-26.
doi: 10.1093/geronb/53b.3.s118.

Religiosity Buffers Effects of Some Stressors on Depression but Exacerbates Others

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Religiosity Buffers Effects of Some Stressors on Depression but Exacerbates Others

W J Strawbridge et al. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. .

Abstract

Although religiosity is protective for mortality and morbidity, its relationship with depression is unclear. We used the 1994 Alameda County Study survey of 2,537 subjects aged 50-102 to analyze associations between two forms of religiosity and depression as well as the extent to which religiosity buffers relationships between stressors and depression. Non-organizational religiosity included prayer and importance of religious and spiritual beliefs; organizational religiosity included attendance at services and other activities. Non-organizational religiosity had no association with depression; organizational religiosity had a negative relationship that weakened slightly with the addition of health controls. Both forms of religiosity buffered associations with depression for non-family stressors, such as financial and health problems. However, non-organizational religiosity exacerbated associations with depression for child problems, and organizational religiosity exacerbated associations with depression for marital problems, abuse, and caregiving. Religiosity may help those experiencing non-family stressors, but may worsen matters for those facing family crises.

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