Dimensions of religiosity and their relationship to lifetime psychiatric and substance use disorders

Kenneth S. Kendler, Xiao Qing Liu, Charles O. Gardner, Michael McCullough, David Larson, Carol A. Prescott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

333 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: The role of religion in mental illness remains understudied. Most prior investigations of this relationship have used measures of religiosity that do not reflect its complexity and/or have examined a small number of psychiatric outcomes. This study used data from a general population sample to clarify the dimensions of religiosity and the relationships of these dimensions to risk for lifetime psychiatric and substance use disorders. Method: Responses to 78 items assessing various aspects of broadly defined religiosity were obtained from 2,616 male and female twins from a general population registry. The association between the resulting religiosity dimensions and the lifetime risk for nine disorders assessed at personal interview was evaluated by logistic regression. Of these disorders, five were "internalizing" (major depression, phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and bulimia nervosa), and four were "externalizing" (nicotine dependence, alcohol dependence, drug abuse or dependence, and adult antisocial behavior). Results: Seven factors were identified: general religiosity, social religiosity, involved God, forgiveness, God as judge, unvengefulness, and thankfulness. Two factors were associated with reduced risk for both internalizing and externalizing disorders (social religiosity and thankfulness), four factors with reduced risk for externalizing disorders only (general religiosity, involved God, forgiveness, and God as judge), and one factor with reduced risk for internalizing disorders only (unvengefulness). Conclusions: Religiosity is a complex, multidimensional construct with substantial associations with lifetime psychopathology. Some dimensions of religiosity are related to reduced risk specifically for internalizing disorders, and others to reduced risk specifically for externalizing disorders, while still others are less specific in their associations. These results do not address the nature of the causal link between religiosity and risk for illness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)496-503
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Volume160
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

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Substance-Related Disorders
Psychiatry
Forgiveness
Bulimia Nervosa
Tobacco Use Disorder
Phobic Disorders
Panic Disorder
Religion
Anxiety Disorders
Psychopathology
Population
Alcoholism
Registries
Logistic Models
Interviews
Depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Dimensions of religiosity and their relationship to lifetime psychiatric and substance use disorders. / Kendler, Kenneth S.; Liu, Xiao Qing; Gardner, Charles O.; McCullough, Michael; Larson, David; Prescott, Carol A.

In: American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 160, No. 3, 01.03.2003, p. 496-503.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kendler, Kenneth S. ; Liu, Xiao Qing ; Gardner, Charles O. ; McCullough, Michael ; Larson, David ; Prescott, Carol A. / Dimensions of religiosity and their relationship to lifetime psychiatric and substance use disorders. In: American Journal of Psychiatry. 2003 ; Vol. 160, No. 3. pp. 496-503.
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