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Subjective Religiosity and Depression in the Transition to Adulthood

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Abstract:

Does being more religious make one less susceptible to depression? We consider the association between subjective religiosity (religious self-perception and coping) and depression in the context of social support (from family and friends) and stress exposure (recent negative life events, chronic stress, lifetime trauma, and discrimination). Data come from a sample of 1,803 Miami-Dade County young adults interviewed between 1997 and 2000. We find higher levels of depression among the moderately religious than among either very religious or nonreligious respondents. Interestingly, when observations are made within gender, this relationship applies only to females. Controlling for socioeconomic status and social support largely accounts for the link between religiosity and depression. However, controlling for stress exposure reveals a suppressor effect wherein religiosity once again emerges as significant. Our interpretation is that, while established patterns of religious coping can routinely mitigate distress, heightened stress exposure may elicit increased prayer among the less religious.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5906.2005.00275.x

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, Florida State University, 526 Bellamy Building, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2270., Email: ahe4376@fsu.edu 2: Department of Sociology and the Center for Demography and Population Health, Florida State University. ; dlloyd@fsu.edu, Email: jrtaylor@garnet.fsu.edu

Publication date: June 1, 2005

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