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

church were able to focus more on life without worrying about conflicting ideals, resulting in lower depression. At lower levels of involvement, adolescents still gained the social support of their religious community while also feeling in touch with mainstream society, Petts said.

The results also showed that the problem for Latino adolescents may be two-fold. At high levels of involvement in their religious community, Latino teens experienced the same tension between culture and society as some Asian-American teens. This led to higher reports of depression symptoms among these youth.

But Latino teens who never attended church reported high levels of depression as well, reporting 26 to 28 percent higher rate of depression symptoms than did white and African-American American youth. Religion is often an important part of social support for these adolescents and no involvement in their religion may leave these teens without a sense of connection to their community and culture, he said.

"Participating to a certain extent may enable these youth to balance their lives better. They have a connection with a religious community and all the benefits it offers, but they are not so immersed that they're out of touch with mainstream society. So they're sort of getting the best of both worlds," Petts said.

The tension between society and religion may also help explain why females who were sexually active report higher levels of depression than do sexually active males. The disconnect between how their religion told them to act and what they chose to do may cause these females to have higher emotional distress and increased depression, he said.

In addition, Latina females who participated heavily in their religion were more likely to become depressed then Latino males. Not only were these young women more at risk for feeling depressed than were their male counterparts, but they were also more depressed then Latina females who atte
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Contact: Richard Petts
Rjpetts@bsu.edu
765-285-5142
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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