New Study Shows Disturbing Trend In Mental Health
New research published in the journal Society and Mental Health suggests that sticking to a religion you have doubts about could cause the feeling of depression and hopelessness.
The research shows there is an association between religious affiliation and better mental health. Social scientists of today have taken a keen interest in the nonreligious society. This is because of the group’s recent and fast-growing rate, especially in the United States.
Study author Matthew May, an assistant professor of sociology at Oakland University said although there is a rapid growth of the nonreligious, even more people consider leaving religion and do not leave. He stated that he wanted to understand how the religious undecided stayers are different from the leavers and the stable affiliates. He analyzed data from the Portraits of American Life Study, a longitudinal study of American adults. The survey questioned participants on their religious affiliation, and whether they had seriously considered leaving religion altogether.
May’s study found that participants who considered dropping out of religion but had not changed their religious membership were more likely to show feelings of depression, worthlessness and hopelessness compared to those who never considered leaving religion, who were never affiliated, and who in fact left.
He said there were data limitations that prevented him from discovering why people considered leaving their religion and what made them chose to leave or stay. He added that it is important to develop a survey that measures the stability of affiliation over a long period to understand the effect of religion on health and well-being.
The findings of this recent study are consistent with identity theories in sociology, and strongly provide evidence that a strong religious or sexual affiliation contributes majorly to mental health.