Explaining US Adolescent Depressive Symptom Trends Through Declines in Religious Beliefs and Service Attendance

Noah T. Kreski, Qixuan Chen, Mark Olfson, Magdalena Cerdá, Deborah Hasin, Silvia S. Martins, Katherine M. Keyes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Over the past decade, US adolescents’ depressive symptoms have increased, and changing religious beliefs and service attendance may be contributing factors. We examined the contribution of religious factors to depressive symptoms among 417,540 US adolescents (grades: 8, 10, 12), years:1991–2019, in survey-weighted logistic regressions. Among adolescents who felt religion was personally important, those who never attended services had 2.23 times higher odds of reporting depressive symptoms compared to peers attending weekly. Among adolescents who did not feel that religion was important, the pattern was reversed. Among adolescents, concordance between importance of religion and religious service attendance may lower risk of depressive symptoms. Overall, we estimate that depressive symptom trends would be 28.2% lower if religious factors had remained at 1991 levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Religion and Health
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Depression
  • Religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Religious studies

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