By On June 19th, 2006

Fighting Depression: Prevention and recovery’s religious link

Former president of the American Psychological Association, Martin Seligman, Ph.D., regarding faith and depression stated “religion and spirituality might decrease depression…by fostering positive behaviors and lessening the impact of negative circumstances.” Many clinical professionals have shared Dr. Seligman’s position over the last century. The following article reviews several studies done over the span of approximately one hundred years regarding the relationship between faith and depression. All of the studies cited focus on people of high religious involvement who considered the spiritual aspect of their lives to be a priority. The common finding among these studies was that people of religious involvement were shown to have less instances of depression and more protection from developing a depressed state. Here is an excerpt of the article:

A review of more than 80 studies appearing during the last 100 years found a factor steadily linked with lower rates of depression religious participation. People involved in a religious group and who highly valued their religious faith were at a substantially reduced risk of a depressive disorder, while people with no religious link may raise their risk of major depression by as much as 60 percent, the review found. Lack of organizational religious involvement leads to a 20 to 60 percent increase in the odds of experiencing a major depressive episode, noted review authors Michael McCullough, Ph.D., of Southern Methodist University and David Larson, M.D., MSPH, president of the International Center for the Integration of Health and Spirituality (ICIHS).

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