, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 341-356

The Perceived Prayers of Others, Stress, and Change in Depressive Symptoms Over Time

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to see if believing that others are praying for them reduces the noxious effect of living in a rundown neighborhood on change in depressive symptoms among older people. Findings from a longitudinal nationwide survey of older adults reveal that the deleterious effect of living in a dilapidated neighborhood on depressive symptoms is significantly reduced for older individuals who believe others often pray for them. Further analyses suggest that the stress-buffering properties of beliefs about being prayed for by others remain virtually unchanged after emotional support from family members and close friends is taken into account. The findings have potentially important implications for studying church-based prayer groups as well as assessing the ways in which individuals might support each other during difficult times.