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Religions 2018, 9(1), 3; doi:10.3390/rel9010003

Religion and Depression in South Korea: A Comparison between Buddhism, Protestantism, and Roman Catholicism

1
Department of Health & Welfare, Joongbu University, 201 Daehak Ro, Geumsan 31713, Korea
2
Institute for Aging and Clinical Nutrition Research, Gachon University, 1342 Seongnam Daero, Seongnam 13120, Korea
3
College of Information Technology, Gachon University, 1342 Seongnam Daero, Seongnam 13120, Korea
4
Department of Food and Nutrition, Gachon University, 1342 Seongnam Daero, Seongnam 13120, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 July 2017 / Accepted: 18 December 2017 / Published: 22 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Mental Health Outcomes)
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Abstract

Over the past few years, the occurrence of depression in South Korea has significantly increased. Even though Buddhism was the main religion in historical South Korea, Christianity has recently emerged as a dominant faith tradition. However, the relationship between religion and depression among older Korean adults is understudied. The present study is designed to investigate religious variations and the role of religious participation in depression among older Korean adults using the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging (KLoSA). From the KLoSA database, 6817 participants were extracted and analyzed. Utilizing the Korean version of the 10-item Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D 10) and the generalized linear models (GLM), a significant difference in depressive symptoms between religious groups (p < 0.05) and religious nones surfaced. This significant difference remained even after adjusting for the confounding factors. When the levels of depressive symptoms were compared across various faith traditions, the lowest depression score was detected from Buddhists (7.04), followed by Roman Catholics (7.12), and Protestants (7.71). Moreover, a significant difference in depressive symptoms between Buddhists and Protestants was observed. With regard to the frequency of religious participation, a significant difference in the depression score was observed only for Protestants. That is, the depression score for those who reported attending religious meetings ‘once to six times a year’ was significantly higher than the others. It is concluded that those who are religiously involved had significantly less depression symptoms than religious nones. Moreover, of the three faith traditions, Buddhists and Protestants showed a significant difference in depressive symptoms. View Full-Text
Keywords: depression; religion; religious affiliations; frequency of religious attendance; South Korea depression; religion; religious affiliations; frequency of religious attendance; South Korea
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Seomun, J.; Park, J.; Geem, Z.W.; Lee, H.-J. Religion and Depression in South Korea: A Comparison between Buddhism, Protestantism, and Roman Catholicism. Religions 2018, 9, 3.

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