Religiosity prevalence and its association with depression and anxiety symptoms among Hispanic/Latino adults

Shir Lerman, Molly Jung, Elva M. Arredondo, Janice M. Barnhart, Jianwen Cai, Sheila F. Castañeda, Martha L. Daviglus, Rebeca A. Espinoza, Aida L. Giachello, Kristine M. Molina, Krista Perreira, Hugo Salgado, Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, Robert C. Kaplan

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26 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0185661
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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