According to a study carried out for 10 years by the Columbia University, individuals who are religious are less likely to suffer from clinical depression. 

They gathered a group of 114 adults, whose parents were both, depressive and non depressive (probably to rule out the "genetic predisposition") and what turned out was that those who claimed religion and spirituality as "highly important"  had about one-tenth the risk of experiencing major depression compared with those who did not.

So according to this longitudinal research, spirituality or religion appears to have a protective effect against primarily the recurrence of depression. In some, it may also protect against the onset of depression. This effect was strongest in those whose one or more parents also suffered from depression.


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My take on this one is that appareantly religion gives them a sort of "placebo" effect. Let's not forget that many religious groups prey on "depressed" individuals for their own gratification. The easiest people to seduce into a religious doctrine are the ones who are searching for a "why me?".

Most religions try to make you feel "special", they also have support groups where you can talk with others about your misfortunes, or they have a priest/pastor who will address your concerns in a personal matter. 

Is actually the human to human interactions what makes us happier. Let's not forget that we are social creatures. Whenever we share with others and they supply us with empathy plus an ego boost we feel top of the world.

Religion will give us a divine cause and effect for everything, with the premise that everything is for our "own good" and since God loves us we will get some eternal reward also. 

When you are indoctrinated is like wearing some pink colour glasses. Your life gains some imaginary meaning. You delude yourself with the help of your brothers and sisters. If you try to look objectively at the "divine answer" of your suffering you will realize that is the ultimate nonsense.

What helps religious people with depression is the fact that they believe there is someone who cares, whether is their imaginary deity, the priest, or their brothers and sisters in the congregation. 

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Comment by Dustin on September 19, 2011 at 8:21pm

My take on it.  


These highly religious people are probably interacting with their church and their family much more frequently than Atheists would.  That social interaction alone would help prevent someone from falling into depression.  


This study doesn't specifically test those that are having doubts does it?  So is this study playing the 'No True Scottsman' Fallacy by calling 'Religious people' those that claim it to be 'highly important'?  


Sure, if you take a group of Muslims and Hindus that say their Faith is the world to them, I am sure they will rate better in depression than those who are going to through a crisis in Faith or have to 'come out' to their families who might abandon them.  


A happy pill will do the same thing as being 'High Religious' ... I prefer to live in reality and I cherish the pain and suffering I must endure for that.  I would never wish to be put on a happy pill if it blinded me from reality.  Like in the Matrix ... which pill would you take?  



Comment by Gabriela Menicucci on September 19, 2011 at 10:02pm

This study doesn't specifically test those that are having doubts does it?  So is this study playing the 'No True Scottsman' Fallacy by calling 'Religious people' those that claim it to be 'highly important'?

I agree. The study points out all participants were Catholic or Protestant. So is safe to say that none of them were Atheists or belonged to other religious groups. And calling "religious" only the ones who considered themselves "highly spiritual" is a fallacy.

Truth is they were ALL religious. 


From intuition, it seems that it would be true since religion can be very emotionally uplifting for a lot of people, but I think more research should be conducted in order to make such a claim.


I also agree with this. Its obvious that if religion is HIGHLY important for someone, then there is some psychological comfort there.. Also they avoid having to actually think about the root cause of their depression.


What I wonder is if they are after The Templeton prize....



Comment by Dustin on September 19, 2011 at 10:43pm

lol'ed at your last sentence ... hmmmm, I wonder.  :P


Comment by Gabriela Menicucci on September 20, 2011 at 12:01am

@Dustin it wouldnt surprise me really :D I know Dawkins would have already called them out on that one lol.

@Kasu yes this research can turn out to be helpful to all, the only problem I see is that the participants are all christians, this is a little one sided, since it doesn't take into consideration other groups of people. But they have another 10 years to go to draw final conclusions.

I agree with your statement about the pro & cons of religions, there are very few benefits. In fact I can't think of any right now.

@Flower I have seen this "divine" phenomena too. I wouldn't doubt this study is being financed by a Christian group.We need to remember that christianity is falling apart. Anyway it's sad how religions prey on people's loneliness, mental conditions and ignorance. 


Comment by Lewal on September 20, 2011 at 1:06am

I don't want to generalize, but I'm tempted to chuck it to good old-fashion "Ignorance is bliss" and "The truth hurts."

Comment by james d on September 20, 2011 at 1:28pm

i was a fundy for almost 35 years of my life from the time i was about 12... i suffered from severe depression for.... 35 years until i walked away from god and religion to become an atheist. i can assure you, those two aspects of my life were DIRECTLY related! can i prove it scientifically? i don't know, but once i left the church, i stopped my anti-depressants and have never required them again. 4 years now, no religion = no depression! it may be simply timing, but i put them together!

Comment by The Doctor on September 20, 2011 at 1:31pm

I agree with the placebo effect entirely, however from personal expeirence (and family members still religeous) I can say it's actually a detriment to mix clynical depression with religeon, after all, the god drug is supposed to make everything o.k. or atleast tolerable. So still being depressed causes concern with faith, maybe you didn't understand what god wanted or maybe (worse yet) you are being 'tested' for some transgression...

In my opinion, it is just added stress on an already overtaxed mind.

Comment by james d on September 20, 2011 at 1:35pm

the bible is very clear, mental health anomolies are demonic issues, not chemical issues and thus they will not acknowledge depression as a real problem, but if you suffer it, you are possessed! that is probably more scary and why it probably goes unreported on a large scale.



Comment by Helen Pluckrose on September 20, 2011 at 2:02pm

I think there is a simpler explanation. Depression is often aggravated by people giving in to a feeling of wanting to stay in and be left alone. People who best depression are the ones who fight this. Going to church is as good and no better than any other regular activity which gets you out of the house. I work with elderly people living alone who, understandably, begin to feel depressed. Part of my job is getting them out and about and improving their quality of life. This works whether we go to Church, the hairdresser or a cafe for lunch.

Comment by Kerridwen on September 20, 2011 at 2:26pm

That's all well and dandy for the normal people, but personally religion made me loath myself!


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