Religious People More Prone to Depression?

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What’s the connection between a person’s worldview and the risk of becoming depressed?

Research by psychologists has indicated that religious persons see themselves as happier. Then again, most of the research has been conducted in the US, where approximately 80 percent of the population claims to be connected to some church or sect. Surveys made in other countries provide conflicting results.

For example, studies have shown that people turn to religion when facing serious hardships and that religious people are happier than non-religious, primarily when in harsh conditions and religious societies.

An English study found that persons who see themselves as spiritual but do not follow any specific religion are more restless and depressed. This could have many possible reasons. Those with a diagnosis of depression may be more interested in self-help and spiritual movements than the average person. Soul searchers of fragile mental health can do poorly when there’s no support from a church or congregation.

 

Written By: Piret Pappel
continue to source article at blog.ut.ee

12 COMMENTS

  1. A previous article on RDF stated almost the exact opposite that atheists were more prone to depression because apparently religious people were as happy clappy as anything……..Many people in Britain get depressed because of the hopeless economy and the dull weather, both religious and atheists !….its a biological imbalance in many people, why is it always being linked to beliefs ? Surely your health and circumstances around you are a more likely cause.!….
    Did the study cover Amazonian tribesmen…or Aboriginal Australians ?…why just modern western people…of course they are likely to be depressed…half of the population can’t keep up with the pace of consumerist western society -
    I know religious people who are depressed and atheists….the religious ones look to their god – for easement of their suffering – pointless !…..The atheists mostly go to the doctor for medical help…depression usually passes in its own time unless there is an underlying condition which the doctor should pick up on….. you can treat the symptoms but you should be addressing the cause…..

    • In reply to #1 by Light Wave:

      A previous article on RDF stated almost the exact opposite that atheists were more prone to depression because apparently religious people were as happy clappy as anything……..Many people in Britain get depressed because of the hopeless economy and the dull weather, both religious and atheists !….

      When did the previous study showing atheists more prone to depression appear on this site? I read of a study about a month ago that showed similar results to this one, in fact it may be the same study and has simply resurfaced?

      I find it difficult to come up with a good reason why the results are the way they are, but it’s an interesting idea to contemplate.

      • In reply to #7 by Nitya:

        In reply to #1 by Light Wave:

        A previous article on RDF stated almost the exact opposite that atheists were more prone to depression because apparently religious people were as happy clappy as anything……..Many people in Britain get depressed because of the hopeless economy and the dull weather,..

        You may be right Nitya – the article isn’t here….it may have been from another site – my bad again…….but it did pose the opposite question….
        I’m in agreement that religious people may get depressed more… The empty yawning void of repetitive religious ritual must be mind numbing…. But so many atheists etc while free in their thinking may be isolated in reality with religion all around them….and that must be just as depressing….

        • In reply to #8 by Light Wave:

          In reply to #7 by Nitya:

          In reply to #1 by Light Wave:

          A previous article on RDF stated almost the exact opposite that atheists were more prone to depression because apparently religious people were as happy clappy as anything……..Many people in Britain get depressed because of the hopeless e…

          Funnily enough, I’ve noticed this correlation with people of my acquaintance, though it’s possibly a chicken and egg situation and definitely not 100% . It must be extremely difficult for those who are intelligent, to reconcile their analytical skills in other areas, with something completely beyond analysis. I can understand belief in those satisfied with a simplistic answer( such as the thread suggesting that Occam’s razor could be applied when trying to determine the cause of all things), but many highly intelligent people hold strong convictions. This must be troubling for them.

  2. As an ex religious apologist myself, I think the depression results from having to mentally stick your fingers in you ears and go ‘la la la la la’ whenever an interesting topic of debate comes up. Building walls in your head around certain questions can literally drive you insane.
    Remember this when debating, and let’s work to ‘free the religious billions’ one by one.

  3. Depression descends upon everyone in equal numbers, but religious people are much more likely to commit suicide as a result. As soon as they realize that praying to their nonexistent God has no effect whatsoever on the sudden drop in dopamine and serotonin that causes the condition, instead of seeking medical help, they just figure that it must be “God’s will” for them to end it all, otherwise he wouldn’t be making them feel this way. This may or may not have had something to do with the tragic death of Marie Osmond’s son.

  4. How could you not be depressed as a believer? You are supposed to just wish for things, but for you, they never happen. The creator of the universe is singling you out for ignoring.

    Further, the bible says God is going to roast perhaps 10 billion people for eternity, and bore to death in “heaven” 144,000 male virgins. The odds are extremely strong that you will be roasted. And heaven does not look much fun either.

    Atheists don’t harbour either delusion. How could believers possibly be happier than atheists?

  5. On the other paw, I have noticed Christians tend to ignore climate change, the possibility of nuclear war, species extinction, pollution…

    I think it is an ostrich thing. They are involved in a mini-universe of fantasy. Further they assure me god would not allow any terrible things to happen. He has the end-times all planned.

  6. A previous article on RDF stated almost the exact opposite that atheists were more prone to depression because apparently religious people were as happy clappy as anything.

    Yes, I recall this from several years ago. Was it atheists or just intelligent people being susceptible to depression? As someone who is prone to depression, I realize it is because I over think a lot of issues and see the deeper more detailed view.

  7. There should be a study to determine if openly claiming to believe in something with no doubt whatsoever is detrimental to your mental health when your subconscious knows it is totally wishful thinking.

  8. studies have shown that people turn to religion when facing serious hardships

    unless they take heroin. then they turn to heroin

    I’m getting bored of the constant argument about who’s happier/richer/more fertile/better looking

    there are advertising standards to ensure adverts do not misrepresent facts about their products. this is how i know coca cola is such a great cure for loneliness and under-achievement yet we rarely see any study to show how much happier coke drinkers are than those of us who prefer a bowl of water

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