Patients diagnosed with clinical depression may respond better to medical treatment as a result of belief in a personal God, say researchers at Rush University Medical Center writing in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.
136 adults diagnosed with major depression or bipolar depression at inpatient and outpatient psychiatric care facilities in Chicago participated in the study. The patients were surveyed shortly after admission for treatment and eight weeks later, using the Beck Depression Inventory, the Beck Hopelessness Scale, and the Religious Well-Being Scale – all standard instruments in the social sciences for assessing intensity, severity and depth of disease and feelings of hopelessness and spiritual satisfaction.
Response to medication, defined as a 50-percent reduction in symptoms, can vary in psychiatric patients. Some may not respond at all. But the study found that those with strong beliefs in a personal and concerned God were more likely to experience an improvement. Specifically, participants who scored in the top third of the Religious Well-Being Scale were 75-percent more likely to get better with medical treatment for clinical depression.
The researchers tested whether the explanation for the improved response was linked instead to the feeling of hope, which is typically a feature of religious belief. But degree of hopefulness, measured by feelings and expectations for the future and degree of motivation, did not predict whether a patient fared better on anti-depressants.
"In our study, the positive response to medication had little to do with the feeling of hope that typically accompanies spiritual belief," said Patricia Murphy, PhD, a chaplain at Rush and an assistant professor of religion, health and human values at Rush University. "It was tied specifically to the belief that a Supreme Being cared."
"For people diagnosed with clinical depression, medication certainly plays an important role in reducing symptoms," Murphy said. "But when treating persons diagnosed with depression, clinicians need to be aware of the role of religion in their patients' lives. It is an important resource in planning their care."
Citation: Patricia E. Murphy, George Fitchett, 'Belief in a concerned god predicts response to treatment for adults with clinical depression', Journal of Clinical Psychology, May 2009, 65(9), 1000 - 1008; doi: 10.1002/jclp.20598
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- BP's Extreme Climate Forecast: Storm-proofing For Shareholders Or Corporate Handcuffs?
- Fighting Plagiarism In Scientific Papers
- Intellectually Gifted Kids And Learning Disabilities Often Go Hand In Hand
- 2 New Species Of Primitive Fish Discovered
- Doomsday Dashboard Makes Tracking The Apocalypse Convenient
- Scientific Research Helps Create First Ice Casino Blueprints
- Holistically Tuned - The Brain Sees Words As Pictures, Not A Series Of Letters
- " Once again, I'm wiping the tears from my eyes from the gut splitting laughter, good one!..."
- "I remember the good old days when Duck and Cover was regularly practiced, and I dutifully got under..."
- "Sure, the NRC went down the path to ruin because George W. Bush put Harry Reid's lap dog in charge..."
- "With the Republicans in charge of Congress now, we're certainly having to get used to people with..."
- "Climate change? Are you buying the misuse of language and science? When did the climate not change..."
- If it's a reality program, why aren't 60 percent of the characters obese?
- How diverse is your social network? The answer may reveal something about your values
- Folic acid may help elderly weather heat waves
- Sometimes products benefit from mixed reviews
- Childhood cancer survival up, but most have morbidities