NEW YORK: A person’s religiousness could offer insight into his or her risk for depression, a new research has suggested.

Researchers at Temple University have based their findings on an analysis of nearly 1,000 people in terms of three domains of religiosity — religious service attendance; religious well-being; and existential well-being which refers to a person’s sense of meaning and their purpose in life.

They compared each domain of religiosity to their risk of depression and found that the group with higher levels of religious well-being were 1.5 times less likely to have had depression than those with lower levels of religious well -being, the Psychological Medicine journal reported.

According to lead researcher Joanna Maselko, this is because people with depression tend to use religion as a coping mechanism. As a result, they’re more closely relating to God and praying more.

The researchers also found that those who attended religious services were 30% less likely to have had depression in their lifetime, and those who had high levels of existential well-being were 70% less likely to have had depression than those who had low levels of existential well-being.

“People with high levels of existential well-being tend to have a good base, which makes them very centred emotionally. People who don’t have those things are at greater risk for depression, and those same people might also turn to religion to cope,” Maselko said.

However, the American researchers are yet to find out which comes first — depression or being religious.

Source: Times of India

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