Religiousness is associated with lower levels of anxiety, but not depression, in medical and nursing students.Rev Assoc Med Bras (1992) 2018; 64(6):537-542RA
To evaluate the association between religious and spiritual beliefs, anxiety and depression in medical and nursing students.
A cross-sectional study was carried out with medical and nursing students from a Brazilian university. Students were randomly selected and filled out a questionnaire that contained sociodemographic, religious (Duke Religion Index), spirituality (Self-spirituality rating scale) and mental health - depression and anxiety (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) data. Linear regression models were used to evaluate the association of R/E with mental health, with adjustments for sociodemographic variables.
A total of 187 students (90.7%) were included in the study, 56.1% female, an average of 23 years old, and 69% were enrolled in the medical program. Of the students, 29.4% attended religious services once a week or more often, 10.7% had private religious activities once a day or more often, and the indexes of intrinsic religiosity and spirituality were moderate. In the linear regression, adjusted for sociodemographic variables, the religious attendance was the only factor associated with lower levels of anxiety (Beta: -0.178, p=0.026). The other dimensions of religiousness or spirituality were not associated with levels of anxiety and depression.
The present study showed that only the religious attendance was associated with the mental health of the medical and nursing students. These results demonstrate that some students use religious support in an attempt to minimize the negative effects of their university life. This support seems to be more effective when it involves participation in religious social activities in relation to private activities.