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Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

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Community Psychology | Psychiatry and Psychology | Public Health | Race and Ethnicity | Religion


OBJECTIVES: Religion plays an important role in the lives of people in the United States. We examined the prevalence of religiosity among Hispanic/Latinos in four regions of the United States and looked at its correlation to depression and anxiety symptoms.

DESIGN: The population-based Hispanic Community Health Study/ Study of Latinos enrolled a cohort of Hispanic/Latino adults (N = 16,415) ages 18-74 in four US cities from June 2008 to June 2011. Participants with complete data on religiosity (i.e., religious affiliation, frequency of attending religious activities and importance of religion), depression (assessed with the CESD-10), and trait anxiety (assessed with the STAI-10) were included in the present study. Distribution of religiosity is described by sociodemographic characteristics. Associations between religiosity with depression and anxiety were examined with logistic regression models controlling for sex, age group, education, Hispanic/Latino background, clinical center, and nativity.

RESULTS: The majority of the population (89.5%) reported having a religious affiliation. Weekly attendance at religious activities was reported by 41.6% of participants, while 20.6% did not attend any religious activities. Religion was very important to 63.9% and not at all important to 6.7% of the population. The CES-D scores and trait anxiety scores were not significantly related in the overall group to frequency of attending religious activity or perceived importance of religion. However, in age-stratified analyses, among older individuals (65+ years old) reporting "never" participating in religious activities compared to more than once per week was associated with an 80% higher likelihood of having high depressive symptomatology. Similarly, in the older age group, no religious affiliation or reporting that religion is "not at all important" was associated with greater anxiety symptomatology.

CONCLUSION: Religiosity varied by Hispanic/Latino background. Lack of religiosity was associated with elevated depressive or anxiety symptomology in older adults but not in young or middle-aged adults.


religiosity, religion, Hispanic, Latino, depression, anxiety

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Copyright: © 2018 Lerman et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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PLoS One. 2018 Feb 7;13(2):e0185661. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185661. eCollection 2018. Link to article on publisher's site

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PloS one

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.