Journal Article

A Refuge for Some: Gender Differences in the Relationship between Religious Involvement and Depression

William A. Mirola

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 60, issue 4, pages 419-437
Published in print January 1999 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 1999 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3712024
A Refuge for Some: Gender Differences in the Relationship between Religious Involvement and Depression

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Gender differences exist in religious involvement and depression, with women reporting significantly higher levels of both. Working from the position that religious involvement is beneficial to mental health, this paper tests whether higher religious involvement directly decreases depression and whether it acts as a buffer against the harmful effects of persistent strains in role domains for women compared to men. Results, based on a sample of married and divorced men and women living in Indianapolis, suggest that religious involvement measures tend to have negative effects on depression for women. There was no demonstrable relationship between religious involvement and depression for men. Of the four measures of religious involvement used here, only the use of prayer to cope with daily stressors and strains significantly buffered the effects of chronic role strains on depression, but only for women. Implications for future understanding of gender differences in the relationship between religious involvement and mental health are discussed.

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Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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