Religious involvement and 6-year course of depressive symptoms in older Dutch citizens: Results from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam.

ABSTRACT. Objectives: Expanding on cross-sectional studies, associations are examined between religious involvement and the 6-year course of depressive symptoms in older adults. Methods: Subjects are1,840 community-dwelling older adults (aged 55 to 85) participatingin three measurement cycles of the Longitudinal Aging Study,Amsterdam. Assessments include aspects of religious involvement,depressive symptoms, physical health, self-perceptions, socialintegration, urbanization, and alcohol use. Results: Churchattendance is negatively associated with the course of depressivesymptoms, also after adjustment for explanatory variables. Amongrespondents with functional limitations, lower depression scoresare found for those who attend church on a regular basis. Forrespondents who are bereaved or nonmarried, however, slightlyhigher depression scores are found for those with high levelsof orthodox beliefs. Discussion: There is a consistent negativeassociation over time between church attendance and depressivesymptoms in older Dutch citizens. Both stress-buffering as wellas depression-evoking effects of religious involvement are found.