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Does Religion Protect Against Psychological Distress Among Chronically Ill And Poor Women?

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Chapter Summary

The stress process model specifies stressors, usually measured as acute or chronic life events, as the key causal variables that leads to psychological distress, measured as depressive symptoms. This chapter clarifies specific dimensions of religion and focuses on the ways in which various dimensions of religion affect the relationship between chronic illness and depressive symptoms in a sample of economically disadvantaged women. In addition, it examines how aspects of religion serve as linkages between macro- and micro- structures to affect mental health. The chapter focuses on the relationship between chronic gastro-intestinal distress (CGD) and psychological distress. This relationship has long been recognized within the clinical setting. Finally the chapter provides answer to the following questions: Does social support mediate the inverse relationship between public religiosity and depressive symptoms? Does any of the dimensions of religion buffer or moderate the relationship between CGD and depressive symptoms.

Keywords: chronic gastro-intestinal distress (CGD); chronic illness; depressive symptoms; economically disadvantaged women; mental health; psychological distress; religion; stress process model



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