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Article Title

THE EFFECTS OF RELIGIOSITY ON PERCEIVED DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY

Abstract

K. Bowman, W. M. Silvers

Whitworth University, Spokane, WA

Based upon the reviewed literature, it is known that moderate levels of depression and anxiety exist in college students. Additionally, several studies have documented that individuals who practice religious/spiritual activities often experience less depression and anxiety than those who do not. However, few studies have been conducted to examine the effects of religiosity on mental wellness in college-aged populations. PURPOSE: The purpose of this research study was to investigate the effects of religiosity on perceived depression and anxiety. It was hypothesized those who considered themselves to be religious would have lower depression and anxiety scores. METHODS: Forty-one male and female full-time undergraduate health education majors, aged 18-24 yrs, participated in the research study. Participants completed a survey that consisted of two instruments. The first was the centrality of religiosity scale (CRS-5) designed to determine perceived religiosity. The second instrument was the ultra-brief version of the patient health questionnaire-4 (PHQ-4) designed to provide a score for perceived anxiety and depression. A Mann-Whitney test (significance level p ≤ 0.05) was utilized to analyze the differences in PHQ-4 scores based upon whether someone was considered to be religious or not via the CRS-5 result. RESULTS: No statistical differences were observed between religious and non-religious participants (R: 4.154 ± 3.27, NR: 6.00 ± 2.82; p = 0.412). Therefore, the research hypothesis that religiosity would lower anxiety and depression scores was rejected. CONCLUSION: Under these research conditions, religiosity did not affect perceived anxiety and depression. As evidenced by a trend between the two groups, it is possible that the sample size may have been too small to elicit a significant difference. The composition of this participant sample also may not well typify a general college-age population, which can limit the representativeness of the results. However, the CRS-5 and PHQ-4 have been well documented as valid and reliable instruments, which makes the present findings encouraging enough to warrant further examination of the effects of, or relationship between, religiosity and mental wellness in young adults.

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