When considering mechanisms to improve one’s physical and mental health, practitioners often look to social institutions like the church. Indeed, the connection between religion and spirituality and mental health is well-trodden territory, with much research suggesting that religious people have better outcomes (they tend to be happier, healthier, and live longer).
More specific investigations, however, have been lacking in nuance. For instance, Blacks are among the most religiously engaged groups in America. Although prior research has explored how religiosity connects to the mental health of Black adults, it rarely examines how social factors like denominational culture and gender identity may influence outcomes. Instead, these analyses often treat Black Christian communities as a monolith, ignoring the cultural variance within this sizable group.
The lines of inquiry in a new paper published in the journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, from researchers at the Cook Center and the University of Connecticut, seek to address this gap. Focusing specifically on a dataset of more than 3500 Black Christians living across the U.S., the authors attempt to assess and understand the varying effects of religiosity on depression for individuals across different denominations, genders, education levels, and more.