UVU study: Religion helps, hurts depression

Religion cuts both ways when it comes to depression, according to two Utah Valley University researchers.

People who see themselves as active participants in their faith are less susceptible to depression. But for those who feel alienated from their religion, it makes them more likely to be clinically depressed.

Jack Jensen, director of UVU’s mental health services, and Cameron John, associate professor of behavioral sciences, decided to survey UVU students after Mental Health America ranked Utah in 2007 as the most depressed state in the nation. The nonprofit, formerly known as the National Mental Health Association, used a variety of factors to come up with the state rankings, including the number of adults who had experienced at least one bout of depression and the average number of days in the past month respondents reported their mental health was not good.

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