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Negative Interaction with Fellow Church Members and Depressive Symptoms among Older Mexican Americans

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Summary Research indicates that positive relationships with fellow church members are associated with better mental health. However, far less research has focused on the relationship between negative interaction with fellow church members and mental health outcomes. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between church-based negative interaction and depressive symptoms with data from a nationwide sample of older Mexican Americans. Statistically significant findings were found for the following core relationships in our study model: (1) older Mexican Americans who encounter negative interaction with fellow church members experience more doubts about their faith; (2) older Mexican Americans who experience more doubts about their faith are more likely to expect transgressors to perform acts of contrition (i.e., make amends); and (3) older Mexican Americans who require transgressors to perform acts of contrition are more likely to experience symptoms of depression. Subsequent empirical analyses provide support for each of these relationships.

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