Religion, Spirituality, and Depression in Adolescent Psychiatric Outpatients


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Abstract

This study examines in a preliminary manner the relationship between multiple facets of religion/spirituality and depression in treatment-seeking adolescents. One hundred seventeen psychiatric outpatients aged 12 to 18 completed the brief multidimensional measure of religiousness/spirituality, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), a substance abuse inventory. Controlling for substance abuse and demographic variables, depression was related to feeling abandoned or punished by God (p < 0.0001), feeling unsupported by one's religious community (p = 0.0158), and lack of forgiveness (p < 0.001). These preliminary results suggest that clinicians should assess religious beliefs and perceptions of support from the religious community as factors intertwined with the experience of depression, and consider the most appropriate ways of addressing these factors that are sensitive to adolescents' and families' religious values and beliefs.

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