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Keywords:

  • religion;
  • depression;
  • elderly

Abstract

Background

The purpose of this study was to investigate the unique association between religious attendance and the prevalence of depressive symptoms among community dwelling elderly persons.

Methods

Employing a multilevel stratified sampling strategy, a total of 1000 subjects, aged 65–74 and living in Taiwan, were recruited for this interview survey during the year 2001. Aside from background information, the Taiwanese Depression Questionnaire (TDQ) and the Neighborhood Quality Index were used to assess degree of depression and its correlates.

Results

Altogether, 863 subjects (age, M = 69.4, SD = 2.7) had complete data for analysis; 215 (24.8%) had had depressive symptoms in the past week. Among them, those who were female, (OR = 2.17, 95% CI = 1.59–2.97), illiterate(OR = 2.42, 95% CI = 1.76–3.33), unemployed (OR = 1.80, 95% CI = 1.24–2.61), or not married (OR = 1.71, 95% CI = 1.22–2.38), or those who had less family income (OR = 1.84, 95% CI = 1.24–2.73), physical illness (OR = 2.68, 95% CI = 1.86–3.86), or less social capital (OR = 0.91, 95% CI = 0.88–0.94), were at higher risk of being depressed. Moreover, those (95.2% with religious belief ) who had not attended religious activities during the past 6 months were at higher risk of being depressed than those (100% with religious belief ) who had (OR = 2.63, 95% CI = 1.41–4.91). Multivariate logistic regression disclosed that those never attending religious activities were 2.70 times more likely to be depressed when compared to those who had, after taking into consideration sociodemographics and social capital.

Conclusion

The attending of religious activities is a protective factor for geriatric depression. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.