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J Nerv Ment Dis. 2009 Aug;197(8):568-73. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181b08f45.

Religious involvement and risk of major depression in a prospective nationwide study of African American adults.

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  • 1Department of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA.


This study investigated the association between religious involvement and major depression in 607 African American adults, using longitudinal data from the National Survey of Black Americans. Logistic regression found that survey participants who reported receiving "a great deal" of guidance from religion in their day-to-day lives at Time 1 (1988-1989) were roughly half as likely (OR = 0.47, p < 0.01) to have major depression at Time 2 (1992), controlling for sociodemographic and psychological factors, and major depression at baseline. The odds of major depression were also lower for persons with high self-esteem (OR = 0.41, p < 0.01) and those who reported having satisfying relationships with friends and family members (OR = 0.51, p < 0.05) at baseline. No association was found between religious attendance or church support and major depression. The possible mechanisms through which religious involvement may protect against depression, especially among African Americans, are discussed.

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