January 14, 2013
Mental Health Problems More Common Among 'Spiritual But Not Religious'
(Updated) Study: 'People who have a spiritual understanding of life in the absence of a religious framework are vulnerable to mental disorder.'
Update (April 10): A new Canadian study has found that church attendance may reduce one's risk of depression.
"Incidence of clinical depression was 22 percent lower among those who attended religious services at least once a month compared with people who never attended," National Post reports.
Spiritual but not religious? If so, you may be more likely to suffer from mental health issues.
According to a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, people who identify as "spiritual but not religious" are more prone to suffer mental disorders than either those who employ a religious framework or those who are neither religious nor spiritual.
The British study examined 7,403 individuals, 19 percent of whom said they were "spiritual but not religious." Another 35 percent said they are religious, but 46 percent said they were neither religious nor spiritual.
According to CNN, the new study supports previous American research on the topic, including past studies by Tanya Luhrmann, a Stanford University psychological anthropologist who found that "organized religion provides three outlets that benefit churchgoers' well being: social support, attachment to a loving God, and the organized practice of prayer."
"'When you become spiritual but not religious, you are losing the first two points and most spiritual but not religious people aren’t participating in the third,'” Luhrmann told CNN. “'It is not just a generic belief in God that works; it is specific practices that work.'”
In 2003, CT reported that 33 percent of Americans said they were spiritual but not religious. But that percentage could be decreasing: CT reported in November 2012 that only 18 percent of people described themselves that way (including 12 percent of evangelicals). CT has also reported extensively on mental health issues, including schizophrenia, suicide, and depression.