Does social support mediate the moderating effect of intrinsic religiosity on the relationship between physical health and depressive symptoms among Jews?

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Abstract

Previous research in the general population suggests that intrinsic religiosity moderates (mitigates) the effect of poor physical health on depression. However, few studies have focused specifically on the Jewish community. We therefore examined these variables in a cross-sectional sample of 89 Orthodox and 123 non-Orthodox Jews. Based on previous research suggesting that non-Orthodox Judaism values religious mental states (e.g., beliefs) less and a collectivist social religiosity more, as compared to Orthodox Judaism, we hypothesized that the moderating effect of intrinsic religiosity would mediated by social support among non-Orthodox but not Orthodox Jews. As predicted, results indicated that the relationship between physical health and depression was moderated by intrinsic religiosity in the sample as a whole. Furthermore, this effect was mediated by social support among non-Orthodox Jews, but not among the Orthodox. The importance of examining religious affiliation and potential mediators in research on spirituality and health is discussed.

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