Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 1014–1028 | Cite as

Spirituality and Support: A Descriptive Analysis of Online Social Support for Depression

  • David M. KeatingEmail author
Original Paper


This study examined supportive messages in spiritual and non-spiritual online support groups for depression. Both social support and religiosity have been associated with reduced depressive symptomology. Proportions of three types of support (i.e., informational, emotional, and network) were considered; messages were further delineated as being either religious or non-religious in nature. Messages (N = 2,674) from two Christian and two unaffiliated online groups were analyzed. Results indicated that Christian groups communicated more informational support and General groups communicated more network support. Christian groups communicated more religious messages. This and future research is valuable to practitioners and clergy aiding depressed individuals and to the literature on social support and religion.


Religion Online support Depression 



The author would like to thank Steve Rains for guidance throughout the project and Alyssa Kata and Lu Wang for their work coding the messages. This project was aided by an undergraduate research grant from the University of Arizona Honors College.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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