Thursday, November 8, 2018

Robust effects of religiosity on adolescent depression that are stronger for the most depressed; these effects are not driven by the school social context; religiosity buffers against stressors in ways that school activities & friendships do not

Religion and Depression in Adolescence. Jane Cooley Fruehwirth, Sriya Iyer, Anwen Zhang. The University of Chicago 2018. Preprint, DOI: 10.1086/701425

Abstract: Depression is the leading cause of illness and disability in adolescence. Many studies show a correlation between religiosity and mental health, yet the question remains whether the relationship is causal. We exploit within-school variation in adolescents’ peers to deal with selection into religiosity. We find robust effects of religiosity on depression that are stronger for the most depressed. These effects are not driven by the school social context; depression spreads among close friends rather than through broader peer groups that affect religiosity. Exploration of mechanisms suggests that religiosity buffers against stressors in ways that school activities and friendships do not.