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Valuing the Life Experience of Old Adults and Change in Depressive Symptoms: Exploring an Overlooked Benefit of Involvement in Religion

Publication Abstract

Krause, Neal. 2012. "Valuing the Life Experience of Old Adults and Change in Depressive Symptoms: Exploring an Overlooked Benefit of Involvement in Religion." Journal of Aging and Health, 24(2): 227-249.

Objective: Researchers argue that people may encounter difficulty finding productive roles in late life. The purpose of this study is to see whether older people who have found that fellow church members value their life experience encounter fewer symptoms of depression. Methods: The data are from an ongoing nationwide survey (N = 501). Results: Support is obtained for the following relationships: (a) Older people who go to church more often are more likely to feel fellow church members value their life experience, (b) having others value their life experience helps older people feel they belong in their congregation, (c) older individuals who feel they belong in their congregation are likely to have greater feelings of self-worth, and (d) greater self-worth is associated with a fewer symptoms of depression over time. Discussion: The findings identify one way in which religion may help older people find a meaningful role to play in late life.

DOI:10.1177/0898264311412598 (Full Text)

Country of focus: United States of America.

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