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Stress and Hope at the Margins

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Qualitative Research on Depression and Religious Coping among Low-Income Mothers

image of Archive for the Psychology of Religion

For many people across the world, experiences of depression include features that extend beyond the biopsychiatric model, which predominates in research on the relationship between religious and spiritual coping and depressive symptoms. How does attending to these diverse experiences of depression challenge our understanding of the dynamic between religiosity and depression? This paper presents thirteen qualitative interviews among economically marginalized mothers in the metro-Boston area. Analyzing these narratives presents a complex picture of the way chronic situational stress lies beneath their experiences of depression. From this expanded view of depressive experiences, we analyze the religious coping strategies of social support and meaning making to reveal the holistic, yet often ambiguous, ways these mothers engaged religious and spiritual resources to forge hope amidst chronic stress.

Affiliations: 1: Corresponding author, Graduate Division of Religious Studies, Boston University 145 Bay State Rd, Boston, ma 02215 ; 2: Graduate Division of Religion, Laney Graduate School, Emory University ; 3: Boston University School of Medicine, Boston University


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