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Depression and Spirituality

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More

A new piece of research done at Temple University suggests that those who are spiritual, or attend services, or are active in their religious community have a reduced chance of becoming depressed. However, the study also shows that many people who went through a depression use religion as a coping mechanism.

According to Joanna Maseiko, Sci.D., lead researcher in this study at Temple, states that involvement in a religious institution, be it Church, Synagogue, Mosque, etc. allows for social interaction and provides an existential meaning to life. They feel closer to God and have a sense of purpose in their lives.

It is not yet clear whether depression comes first or turning towards religion that comes first. However, it seems apparent, from this study, that spirituality and religiosity seem to provide for mental hygiene.

I want to add that, though this is interesting research, it does not mean that those who do not attend services and those who are not spiritual will become depressed. There are many ways for people to gain a sense of purpose and involvement in their lives. In fact, Maseiko admits that meditation also provides a similar function.

What are your comments about this topic?

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

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