Report: Women Who Stay Religious Less Likely to Have Anxiety Disorder


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(From HealthDay News:) Women who stop being religiously active are three times more likely to suffer generalized anxiety disorder than women who have always been religiously active, researchers report.

In contrast, the researchers found that men who stopped being religiously active were less likely to suffer major depression compared with men who had always been religiously active.

“One’s lifetime pattern of religious service attendance can be related to psychiatric illness,” study co-author Joanna Maselko said in a prepared statement. She is an assistant professor of public health at Temple University.

Maselko and her team analyzed data from 718 adults who shared details of their religious activity in youth and adulthood. They found that a majority of the respondents changed their level of religious activity between childhood and adulthood. The data is published in the January issue of Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.

According to Maselko, the gender differences in the relationship between religious participation and mental health may be tied to social networks. Women are more likely to build them through their religious activities, and then to feel the loss of those networks when they stop attending church, she explained.

Slightly more than one-third of the women reported always being religiously active. Half said they had not been active since childhood. About 7 percent of the women who were always religiously active could be categorized as having generalized anxiety disorder, compared with 21 percent of those who had ended their religious activities.

People with generalized anxiety disorder experience worries and concerns out of proportion to their daily lives, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The disorder is diagnosed if the worries do not abate after six months. About 6.8 million Americans suffer from the disorder, which can seriously interfere with sleep and relaxation. Women are two times more likely to suffer from anxiety disorder than men.

“Everyone has some spirituality, whether it is an active part of their life or not; whether they are agnostic or atheist or just ‘non-practicing.’ These choices potentially have health implications, similar to the way that one’s social networks do,” Maselko said.

(Source: NHIC)


  1. oiy veih!!
    we are so hung up on “recent studies show” or “research shows…”
    y are we so niave to beleive these havolim??
    BTW “religously active” could mean almost anything! how redicules![no i didnt read the whole thing; so go tell me first read it…]

  2. Do you read what you post?
    Your second paragraph suggests that as we get older we should get LESS religious:

    “In contrast, the researchers found that men who stopped being religiously active were less likely to suffer major depression compared with men who had always been religiously active.”

  3. It’s kind of interesting that in the Health Day article part of the headline reads ; But study also shows men who practice faith less in adulthood more likely to avoid depression . Did everyone miss this part of the article too . Anyways I dont think this study applies to Frummeh Yidden , Eiyin Tshuvas Chasam Soifer B’inyan Ein Mazel L’Yisroel .

  4. Religously active means that you give mussar to complete strangers for showing to much hair out of their snood, and for renting movies.

  5. thanks for the explain everybody, I always thought that religiously active meant…

    …posting on YW from the time the local pizza store opens M’Shabbos Kodesh until the fire whistle blasts announcing 1/2 hour until Shabbos.

  6. actually, religiously active also means giving mussar for using a plastic tablecloth on shabbos, and for working instead of sitting and learning

  7. Contrary to that this article claims, Jews actually suffer so much more anxiety because of their religion that it affects their bodily functions. The gemora in Shabbos 86b says ישראל דדאיגי במצות חביל גופייהו.

    Torah is not prozac. We were not given the Torah so that we should feel good. We were given the Torah so that we should have the privilege to serve Hashem.