Religious climate and geographical distribution of depressive symptoms in older Dutch citizens

Arjan W. Braam*, Aartjan T.F. Beekman, Pieter Van Den Eeden, Dorly J.H. Deeg, Kees P.M. Knipscheer, Willem Van Tilburg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study examines whether the degree of conservatism of the religious climate affects the geographical distribution of late life depressive symptoms. A U-shaped relationship is hypothesized: high levels of depressive symptoms at the extremes (both a-religious and hyperconservative), and a low level in the middle (moderate-conservative). Subjects are 3051 older Dutch citizens (55-85 years), living in 11 municipalities. Depressive symptoms are assessed using the CES-D. Religious climate is estimated on the municipality level, using percentages votes on political parties with a Christian background (moderate-conservative versus hyperconservative). Using multi- level analysis, the results support the U-curve hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-159
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1999

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