While we’re on the subject of mental health, I ran across a blog post detailing the results of a study on the correlation between religious activity and mental health. The study was conducted by Joanna Maselko, Sc.D of Temple University. She says that “One’s lifetime pattern of religious service attendance can be related to psychiatric illness.” Interesting, isn’t it?
The results of the study indicate that women who stop their religious activity are three times more likely to suffer from mental problems such as general anxiety and alcohol abuse or dependence. However, the results are not the same for the opposite sex. In fact, for men who have always been religiously active, stopping religious activity would make them less prone to depression and similar problems!
Maselko’s explanation for this disparity? “Women are simply more integrated into the social networks of their religious communities. When they stop attending religious services, they lose access to that network and all its potential benefits. Men may not be as integrated into the religious community in the first place and so may not suffer the negative consequences of leaving.”
I grew up in church. I went to Sunday School weekly as a kid – actually well way into my college years, when I attended the weekly services. To be honest, I haven’t attended church in ages. I suppose looking back, the study does apply to me. However, I am sure that there are those who may not have had the same experience. Nevertheless, I think this study and its findings are quite intriguing, don’t you think?