Fewer rainy days for those who praise: a psychological examination of religion and depression




Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Ecology

Document Type



Current research indicates paucity in studying the intersection between specific facets of religion and psychological functioning. The current study addresses symptoms commonly manifested in university students adjusting to new expectations. The study addresses the interface between religion and mental health, particularly depression, which is a complex and multifaceted issue. The foundation of the current research was the Dollahite and Marks (2009) model which identified religion as a meta-variable based on three identified dimensions: beliefs, practices, and faith community. The purpose of the current study is to explore the complex relationships between religion, stress, and depression. The hypotheses predict (1) an inverse relationship between religion and depression, (2) a direct relationship between stress and depression, and (3) a buffering effect of religion on the relationship between stress and depression. In light of the rising needs in research, these predictions were based on a look at specific facets of religion. The participants provided survey data comprised of 212 psychology students in a convenience sample. Descriptive statistics and multiple regression analyses were used to analyze the data. The results indicated that females show higher levels of depression than do males and that social support is negatively related to depression. The current research showed significant findings in (1) the negative relationship between spiritual beliefs and depression, (2) the positive relationship between stress and depression, (3) the buffering impact of religious practices and faith community involvement as these variables interact with stress in relation to depression. The findings contributed to the existing body of research in that the negative relationship between beliefs and depression supported the Marks (2006) research. The positive relationship between stress and depression supported the research of Lee (2007) and the meta-analysis of Liu and Alloy (2010). Finally, the buffering effects of religious practices and faith community involvement on the relationship between stress and depression contributed to the complex findings of the research of Strawbridge, Shema, Cohen, Roberts, & Kaplan (1998). Above all, this study showed the dire need for future studies on religion and pathology and well-being using groundwork models such as the Dollahite and Marks (2009) conceptual model.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Marks, Loren



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