An exploratory study of religious involvement as a moderator between anxiety, depressive symptoms and quality of life outcomes of older adults

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Abstract

Aims.

The aims of this study were to examine the relationships among religion, religious involvement, anxiety, depressive symptoms and quality of life in older adults with psychological problems and whether religious involvement moderated anxiety and depressive symptoms on the outcome of quality of life. Evidence for the mechanism through which religious involvement exerts its moderated effect on anxiety and depressive symptoms was provided.

Background.

Older adults suffering from stress may consequently have anxiety or depressive symptoms and their quality of life is also influenced. The meanings of religious involvement are well documented but less is known about moderating characteristics that determine which older adults with psychological problems are most likely to benefit.

Design.

A correlational, cross-sectional study.

Methods.

The study was conducted in 2007–2008 with a purposive sample of 115 older adults who were 60 years of age or older at a psychiatric centre in Taiwan. Three reliable and valid questionnaires and a demographic sheet were administered.

Results.

Approximately 75% of older adults had mild to severe anxiety; 76·5% had depressive symptoms; and 67·8% of participants who had depressive symptoms also had comorbid anxiety. Findings indicated that there was a significant moderating effect for religious involvement on the quality of life outcome. Religious involvement significantly moderated anxiety and depressive symptoms on quality of life. Moreover, religious participants had a better quality of life and had lower anxiety and depressive symptoms than non-religious participants.

Conclusion.

Testing for moderating effects provides important information regarding the benefits of religious involvement. The current study reveals that religious participants have lower levels of depressive symptoms and anxiety and better quality of life than non-religious ones. Religious involvement plays a role in buffering the relationship between psychological problems and quality of life.

Relevance to clinical practice.

Nurses can encourage individuals with health problems to participate in religious involvement, which may help individuals to experience a feeling of support and enhance their quality of life.

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