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Can J Psychiatry. 2013 May;58(5):291-9.

Longitudinal associations of importance of religion and frequency of service attendance with depression risk among adolescents in Nova Scotia.

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Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.


in English, French


To examine the directionality of associations between self-reported religious importance or worship attendance and depression among adolescents, and to determine whether social supports or general self-efficacy are mechanisms of observed associations.


A cohort (n = 976) of Canadian high school students were surveyed in Grade 10 (2000 to 2001) and 2 years later (2002 to 2003). Logistic regression was conducted separately among adolescents with and without elevated depressive symptoms to examine associations between baseline religious attendance and religious importance with later depression, adjusting for confounding factors. Effects of reverse causation were also assessed, determining associations between baseline depression and follow-up religious attendance and importance.


Girls who were not depressed at baseline and who attended religious services had lower odds of later depression (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.46; 95% CI 0.22 to 0.95, P < 0.05), which was accounted for by general self-efficacy. Boys who were depressed at baseline who attended religious services had lower odds of still being depressed at follow-up (AOR 0.23; 95% CI 0.06 to 0.80, P < 0.01). Depression at baseline predicted lower attendance at follow-up among boys (AOR 0.26; 95% CI 0.09 to 0.75, P < 0.01).


Religious attendance independently predicts lower depression at follow- up among girls, and may do so by increasing self-efficacy. Among boys with depression, religious attendance predicts a lower likelihood of still being depressed at follow-up. The relation between religious attendance and depression in boys is bidirectional.


adolescents; depression; longitudinal; religion; self-efficacy

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