Religious practice and depression among geriatric home care patients Conference

cited authors

  • Milstein, G; Bruce, ML; Gargon, N; Brown, E; Raue, PJ; McAvay, G

fiu authors


  • Objective: To examine the relationship between religious practice and depression in a sample of geriatric patients receiving homecare nursing services. Methods: Patients were sampled weekly for six months from all those aged 65 to 102, and newly enrolled in a visiting nurse agency (N = 130). Depression was assessed by home interviews using the SCID and HRSD. Patients reported their religious service participation prior to receiving homecare and currently. Health status, disability, pain, social support and history of depression were also assessed. Results: The current prevalence of DSM-IV Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) was significantly greater (p < .05), and depressive symptoms were more severe (p < .02), among those persons who had not attended religious services prior to receiving homecare. Logistic regression demonstrated that the effect of religious attendance remained significant when controlling for health status, disability, pain, social support and history of depression. A subsequent analysis compared three groups of patients. They were those who had: 1) Not attended religious services; 2) Stopped attending since homecare; 3) Continued attending. Data demonstrated significantly decreasing prevalence of MDD (p < .03) across the groups. Conclusions: Prevalence of DSM-IV Major Depressive Disorder and the severity of depressive symptoms were significantly lower among homecare patients who attend religious services. Because a large proportion of persons stop attending religious services after initiating homecare, it is suggested that visitation by clergy may improve depressive symptoms for these patients.

publication date

  • August 11, 2003

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 71

end page

  • 83


  • 33


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