Belief in God Positively Influences Psychiatric Treatment Outcomes

So the other day, I was scrolling through ScienceDaily and came across this article summary:

Belief in God may significantly improve the outcome of those receiving short-term treatment for psychiatric problems, according to recent study conducted by McLean Hospital investigators.

Um, yeah. You know I was all over it :)

Prayers and Apples Charlie BrownAccording to Dr. David H. Rosmarin, a McClean Hospital clinician and instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School:

Our work suggests that people with a moderate to high level of belief in a higher power do significantly better in short-term psychiatric treatment than those without, regardless of their religious affliation. Belief was associated with not only improved psychological wellbeing, but decreases in depression and intention to self-harm.”

These findings, published by the Journal of Affective Disorders, are the result of a one year study, involving 159 patients. Each patient gauged their belief in God, on a five-point scale, at the beginning of their treatment plan.

Patients who claimed no religious affliation still saw the same results as patients who rated their belief in a higher power as moderate or very high but patients who “no” or only “slight” belief in God were twice as likely not to respond to treatment than patients with higher levels of belief!

Rosmarin notes that this study “highlights the clinical implications of spiritual life” – one of the main things I hope to accomplish here at Prayers and Apples :)

For more details, check out the full study in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

(And for more information on the relationship between depression and spirituality, check out: Religion Acts as Buffer for High Risk Depression.)

Trust God

Thanks so much for reading! To receive updates on new Prayers and Apples posts, subscribe here



Rosmarin, D.H., Bigda-Peyton, J.S., Kertz, S.J., Smith, N., Rauch, S.L., Bjorgvinsson, T. (25 April 2013). A test of faith in God and treatment: The relationship of belief in God to psychiatric treatment outcomes. Journal of Affective Disorders, 146 (3), 441-446. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.08.030

Science Daily. (25 April 2013). Faith in God positively influences treatment for individuals with psychiatric illness. Retrieved: August 17, 2013.


  1. says

    I once had a pastor talk to me about people who get depressed and end up taking medication to help with that. He determined that most people who end up sad and depressed usually have a “relationship” problem with God. I partly agreed with him, but I do believe that Christians can get sad and feel a mess. I’m not sure if that goes along with this article! Lol, but just wanted to share.
    I do agree that people who have this background have that hope of believing. Without hope, we really don’t have anything. Or faith for the matter.
    Very interesting Jessica! Hope your having a great week!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *