Review of Religious Research

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 341–356 | Cite as

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

  • Neal KrauseEmail author
Original Paper


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.


Prayed for by others Stress Depression 



This research was support by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (RO1 AG009221) and a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Religious Research Association, Inc. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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