Scientific article
Open access

Religious-based interventions for depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis of experimental studies

Published inJournal of affective disorders, vol. 309, p. 289-296
Publication date2022-07


Depression is the most prevalent mental disorder. In the treatment of depressive symptoms, patients' religious practices and beliefs are often not considered. We carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of RCTs to analyse the effect of religious interventions on depression.


A literature screening was performed on August 2021, using the Cochrane Collaboration, PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science databases. Primary source articles published from 2015 to August 2021 in peer-reviewed journals were eligible for inclusion if data were presented on religious interventions' effects on depression.


The literature search yielded 208 potentially relevant publications. Eight articles were identified and included in the review. One of the articles was excluded from the meta-analysis because it did not report the mean data for the baseline and follow-up assessment results. From the 7 out of 8 included studies, the results consistently indicated that religious-based interventions effectively reduced depressive symptoms among vulnerable persons with chronic medical illness, pregnant women, haemodialysis patients, elderly nursing home residents, people with major depressive disorders or dysthymia, and coronary artery bypass graft surgery patients.


The definition of the religious-based intervention varied substantially among the trials. These differences can make interpretation and comparing implications on the treatment of depression difficult.


Compared to standard/other usual therapies for treating depression, religious-based interventions provide superior effects. This review and meta-analysis strongly suggest that patients' religious beliefs should be considered when diagnosing and treating depression.

  • Depressive symptoms
  • Mental health
  • Religion
  • Religiosity
  • Spirituality
Research group
Citation (ISO format)
MARQUES, Adilson et al. Religious-based interventions for depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis of experimental studies. In: Journal of affective disorders, 2022, vol. 309, p. 289–296. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2022.04.126
Main files (2)
Article (Published version)
Article (Accepted version)
ISSN of the journal0165-0327

Technical informations

Creation11/21/2022 10:37:00 AM
First validation11/21/2022 10:37:00 AM
Update time03/16/2023 9:07:02 AM
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