Research into risk and protective factors for psychiatric disorders may help reduce the burden of these conditions. Spirituality and religion are 2 such factors, but research remains limited. Using a representative national sample of respondents, this study examines the relation between worship frequency and the importance of spiritual values and DSM-IV psychiatric and substance use disorders.
In 2002, the Canadian Community Health Survey obtained data from about 37,000 individuals aged 15 years or older. While controlling for demographic characteristics, we determined odds ratios for lifetime, 1-year, and past psychiatric disorders, with worship frequency and spiritual values as predictors.
Higher worship frequency was associated with lower odds of psychiatric disorders. In contrast, those who considered higher spiritual values important (in a search for meaning, in giving strength, and in understanding life's difficulties) had higher odds of most psychiatric disorders.
This study confirms an association between higher worship frequency and lower odds of depression and it expands that finding to other psychiatric disorders. The association between spiritual values and mood, anxiety, and addictive disorders is complex and may reflect the use of spirituality to reframe life difficulties, including mental disorders.
Comment In: Can J Psychiatry. 2007 Jun;52(6):406; author reply 40617696028