Predicting the trajectories of depressive symptoms among southern community-dwelling older adults: The role of religiosity

Fei Sun, Nan S. Park, Lucinda L. Roff, David L. Klemmack, Michael Parker, Harold G. Koenig, Patricia Sawyer, Richard M. Allman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    42 Scopus citations


    Background: This study examined the effects of religiosity on the trajectories of depressive symptoms in a sample of community-dwelling older adults over a four-year period in a Southern state in the US. Methods: Data from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Study of Aging were analyzed using a hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) method. This study involved 1000 participants aged 65 and above (M age=75 at baseline, SD=5.97) and data were collected annually from 1999 to 2003. The Geriatric Depression Scale measured depressive symptoms; the Duke University Religion Index measured religious service attendance, prayer, and intrinsic religiosity; and control variables included sociodemographics, health, and social and economic factors. Results: The HLM analysis indicated a curvilinear trajectory of depressive symptoms over time. At baseline, participants who attended religious services more frequently tended to report fewer depressive symptoms. Participants with the highest levels of intrinsic religiosity at baseline experienced a steady decline in the number of depressive symptoms over the four-year period, while those with lower levels of intrinsic religiosity experienced a short-term decline followed by an increase in the number of depressive symptoms. Implications: In addition to facilitating access to health, social support and financial resources for older adults, service professionals might consider culturally appropriate, patient-centered interventions that boost the salutary effects of intrinsic religiosity on depressive symptoms.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)189-198
    Number of pages10
    JournalAging and Mental Health
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Mar 1 2012


    • HLM
    • depressive symptoms
    • religiosity
    • trajectories

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Phychiatric Mental Health
    • Gerontology
    • Geriatrics and Gerontology
    • Psychiatry and Mental health


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