Advancing Spiritual Care Through Research

The Relation of Religious Belief and Practices, Depression, and Hopeless in Persons with Clinical Depression

Religious belief and practices have been associated with lower levels of depression in persons dealing with stressful situations. In this study, researchers examined this relationship in 271 persons diagnosed with clinical depression, It was hypothesized that religious belief and practices would be associated with lower depression and that this relationship would be mediated by hopelessness. Religious belief, but not religious behavior, was a significant predictor of lower levels of hopelessness and depression beyond demographic variables. Through the relation of religious belief to lower levels of hopelessness, religious belief was indirectly related to less depression. There was also a small direct positive association of belief with depression, pointing to the complexity of the role belief plays for religious persons. Further study is needed for a better understanding of different ways religion affects depressed persons.