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Participating in religion may make adolescents from certain races more depressed
Date:9/3/2008

ious Research.

Among adolescents who never attended church, Asian-American adolescents reported 4 percent fewer symptoms of depression in the preceding week than did their African-American peers.

In comparison, Asian-American youth who attended church at least once a week reported 20 to 27 percent more symptoms of depression than their white and African-American peers who attended at the same level.

Latino adolescents fared about the same as Asian Americans, reporting 6 to 14 percent higher rates of depression symptoms than did African-American and white teens when attending church at least once a week.

The results showed that in stark contrast to the findings for white and African-American adolescents, Asian-American adolescents who never attended services and Latinos attending at intermediate levels were the least likely to be depressed within their groups.

The results suggest that something unique was affecting adolescents within these two groups when they went to church often. Petts believes that the traditional nature of religion for these two groups may be conflicting with the ideals and customs of mainstream American society. This conflict may be putting additional stress on these youth as they try to balance competing principles and traditions, he said.

"Asian and Latino youth who are highly involved in a culturally distinct church may have a more difficult time balancing the beliefs of their family and their traditional culture with mainstream society. Their religious institution is telling them what should be important in their lives and how to behave, and mainstream society is saying something else," he said.

At higher levels of participation, Asian-American and Latino adolescents had a harder time juggling which set of ideals to adopt because they were more involved and committed to their religion.

Meanwhile, Asian-American adolescents who had lower levels of involvement in
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Contact: Richard Petts
Rjpetts@bsu.edu
765-285-5142
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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