Abstract

The transition into college can lead to stress which can lead to depression in both men and women (e.g. Lopez & Gormley, 2002). Depression cripples both men and women. The lifetime risk of major depression is 10-25% for women and 5-12% for men (Greenspan, 2001). Mild symptoms rob men and women of energy needed for academic and social pursuits (Beeber, 1999). Depression results in poor over-all functioning, emotional behavioral problems and low self-esteem (Reinherz, Giaconia, Hauf, Wasserman & Silverman, 1999). Individuals with depression also have more problems in intimate relationships with friends and family (Reinherz et al., 1999). This exploratory study, which launches a more in-depth investigation of Magee's (2001) unexpected finding about prayer journals, ultimately seeks to understand how to promote resiliency against threats to healthy development among religious college-aged women. This is a narrow inquiry guided by the research question: Among college-aged women with a Christian belief system, what relationship exists, if any, between their conceptions of happiness and belief in God? Selected findings, based on survey data from college-aged women who self-identify as Christian, provide a framework to more fully understand the role that one's spiritual beliefs play in young adult women's psychological and social development. The findings from this study suggest that depressed women who are religious do personal writing relating to social justice/change and to break the isolation of feeling alone more often than religious women who are not depressed. The findings further suggest that religious women's conceptions of happiness relate to themselves and their relationships. Their conceptions of happiness do not include a relationship to the world. The researchers present three explanations to examine these findings.

Disciplines

Psychology

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Psychology Commons

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