J Nerv Ment Dis. 2022 May 5. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000001538. Online ahead of print.
This study examined the relationship between eight measures of religious involvement and five anxiety disorders among a nationally representative sample of African-Americans (N = 3403). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, World Mental Health Composite International Diagnostic Interview was used to assess 12-month and lifetime prevalence for each disorder. Logistic regression indicated weekly service attendance was inversely associated with 12-month and lifetime panic disorder, lifetime agoraphobia, and 12-month and lifetime posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Prayer was inversely associated with 12-month agoraphobia, 12-month social phobia, and lifetime PTSD. Listening to religious radio and looking to God for strength were also inversely related to, respectively, 12-month and lifetime panic disorder. Conversely, reading religious materials was positively associated with 12-month panic disorder, 12-month agoraphobia, lifetime PTSD, and lifetime generalized anxiety disorder. The results are discussed in light of conceptual models that specify multiple and sometimes divergent pathways through which religion impacts health, and suggestions for clinicians addressing anxiety disorders are delineated.