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JournalBy Stephanie Castillo for


While many us believe family and a spoonful of frosting (OK, three spoonfuls) can help us weather tough times, a majority of Americans—93% to be exact, according to a 2011 Gallup poll—also believe in something else: God. And recent research in the Journal of Affective Disorders finds that high-power believers may be onto something, especially if they are suffering from mental illness.

For more insight on how belief in God or some sort of higher power can positively impact mental health, researchers recruited 159 outpatients (the majority of whom were suffering from depression) from a cognitive behavioral therapy program at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. Patients were assessed on four things: belief in God, treatment credibility (e.g., “How confident would you be in recommending this treatment to a friend?”), emotional regulation (how we change the way we think about emotions), and the amount of support received from a spiritual or religious community. There were also measures of depression, psychological well-being, and self-harm at the start and finish of the year-long study.

Keep reading for more details on the study…

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