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A study from a surprising source — The London School of Economics — adds to the evidence that involvement with a faith community is good for you. The four-year study found faith community involvement was better at alleviating depression than:

  • Sports
  • Volunteering
  • Political work
  • Continuing education

The study looked at depressed European adults aged 50 and up.

Epidemiologist Dr Mauricio Avendano said it was unclear why religious activity was associated with long-term happiness. Options he suggested included:

  • Support during periods of illness
  • A sense of community and belonging
  • Reduction in social isolation
  • Activities that were rewarding, vs. political and volunteer work where there might be high effort without clear benefits

Among other interesting study findings: depression in Europe has less to do with the weather (often hypothesized to result in depression in Scandanavia) and more to do with such issues as economic well-being or social relationships/