A STUDY OF SPIRITUAL WELL BEING AND DEPRESSION AMONG MIDDLE AGED PEOPLE By Humera Shafi[1]  and Mudasir Ahmad Dar[2]           

Abstract

The present study is an attempt to assess spiritual well being and depression among middle aged people. The sample in the study consisted of one hundred middle aged people, of which 73 were males and 27 were females selected randomly from the different districts of Kashmir division of Jammu & Kashmir (India). The age of the sample group ranged from 46 to 65 years and the demographic variables viz., age, gender, education, and economic status were taken into consideration. Having collected the data through questionnaires, the central tendencies (mean, standard deviation), Pearson’s correlation and t-test were used for analysis of data. The results indicated the correlation of spiritual well being and depression among middle aged people was found to be significantly negative. The study revealed that the depression has a considerable influence on the spiritual well being construct.

Keywords: Depression, Spiritual well being.

SPIRITUAL WELLBEING

Spiritual well-being is the ability to find meaning, value, and purpose in life and thus to feel content, fulfilled, and happy (Burkhardt & Nagai-Jacobson, 2002). It relates to life-affirming relationships, creative energy, the wholeness of an individual’s spirit and unifying dimension of health, faith in a higher power, enhancement of the individual’s inner resources, and inner strength. Spiritual well-being is a “present state of peace and harmony . . . linked to past experiences and future hopes and goals” (Hungelmann et al., 1985). Pilch (1988 as cited in Leonard), “wellness involves holistic spirituality. An individual can be near death or be mentally or physically disabled and still possess wellness spirituality”. Spiritual wellness is a way of life that views life and living as purposeful and pleasurable. It has roots in spiritual values and/or specific religious beliefs and it involves life-sustaining and life-enriching options that are selected freely at every opportunity.

Spiritual well-being is an indication of an individual’s quality of life in the spiritual dimension. According to Fehring et al., (1997), spiritual well-being has two components: a vertical dimension that involves a relationship with a higher being or God, and a horizontal dimension that involves a sense of purpose and meaning in life. According to Paloutzion & Ellison (1982) Spiritual wellbeing has two important dimensions i.e. External Wellbeing which means individual’s construction of life’s meaning and depth (Corrigen, Mecorkle, Schcll, & Kidder, 2003) and Religious wellbeing which involves one’s relationship with and connection or closeness to a higher power but this connection can be independent of religions (Wink & Dillon, 2003). Spiritual well-being not only indicates an individual’s quality of life in the spiritual dimension, but it is also an indication of spiritual health.

DEPRESSION

Depression is a disorder marked by great sadness and apprehension, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, withdrawal from others, lack of sleep, appetite, sexual desire, lack of interest and pleasure in usual activities and either lethargy and agitation. Depressive symptoms and disorders are frequent causes of emotional and physical suffering, decrease the quality of life and increase the risk for death among older adults (Blazer, 2003). Psychological and social factors may be more protective against depressive symptoms and disorders in later life compared to earlier stages of the life-cycle. The multiple biological, psychological, and social causes of depressive symptoms and disorders in late life, however, are not competing but complementary and almost always transactional. Major depression is more common among women compared to men and this difference persists into late life (Krause, 1986). Many factors have been suggested to explain these differences, such as selective survival. For example, men die earlier and mortality may be affected by genetic factors (Hazzard, 1999). Since men and women are seldom compared in matched analyses, examining older unlike-sex twin pairs provides an opportunity to explore these sex differences. In one such study, women had a higher frequency of depressive symptoms and depressive diagnoses and the sex difference increased over time (Takkinin et al. 2004).

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

Keeping in view the both theoretical and empirical aspects of spiritual well being and depression the present study was carried to study the spiritual well being and depression among middle aged people with following objectives:

  1. To assess the spiritual well being and depression among middle aged people.
  2. To study the relationship between spiritual well being and depression among middle aged people.
  3. To study the significance of difference with respect to different demographic variables viz., age, gender, education, and economic status in relation with spiritual wellbeing and depression among middle aged people.

METHODOLOGY

Participants:

The sample in the study consisted of one hundred middle aged persons (N=100) randomly drawn from the various districts of Kashmir division of Jammu & Kashmir.. Respondent’s age ranged between 46-65 years. The gender, age, economic status and education of the respondents was also taken into consideration.

Tools used: To collect the desired data for the present study, two standardised psychological tests were used.

(1) Spiritual well being Scale by Paloutzian and Ellison (1982): The spiritual wellbeing scale (SWB) consist of 20 items, individually measured on a 6 – point likert scale, ranging from ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree’. It includes two subscales viz., Religious Well-being  (RWB) and Existential Wellbeing (EWB) , each of which comprise of 10 items.

(2) Becks Depression Inventory (2nd edition) by Beck, Steer and Brown (1996): It is a 21- item self report instrument for measuring the severity of depression. The BDI – II is scored by summing the ratings for 21 items, and each item is rated on a 4 –point scale ranging from 0 to 3.

Statistical Analysis: In proposed study central tendencies, (mean, standard deviation) Pearson’s correlation coefficient and T-test were used for the proper analysis of data.

ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF THE DATA

Table 1. Percentage of Spiritual Well-being among Middle Aged People Across Various Levels

Levels Spiritual Wellbeing
N % age
Low 0 0%
Average 79 79%
High 21 21%

The Table 1 shows that out of total sample 0% fall at low level of spiritual wellbeing, 79% fall on Average level, and 21% fall at high level of spiritual wellbeing.

 

 

Table 2. Percentage of Depression among Middle Aged People Across Various Levels

Levels Depression
N %age
Minimal 68 68%
Mild 16 16%
Moderate 10 10%
Severe 6 6%

The above Table 2 reveals that out of the total sample 68% fall in the   minimal level of depression, 16% fall in the mild level of depression, 10% fall in the moderate level of depression and the remaining 6% of the sample fall in the severe level of depression.

Table 3. Correlation between Spiritual Well-being and Depression among Middle Aged People (N= 100)

Variable Depression
Spiritual Wellbeing r = – 0.28*

*.P ≤ 0.05 level of significance

The above table shows the correlation coefficient between spiritual wellbeing and depression, which is – 0.28. The correlation is negative and is significant at 0.05 level of significance.

Table 4. Comparison of Mean Scores of Spiritual Well-being as far as Gender, Education, Age and Income of Middle Aged People is Concerned

Variable Group N Mean SD df t-value
 

Spiritual Wellbeing

Gender Male 73 89.45 10.40 98 0.92NS
Female 27 89.74 14.44
Education Graduate level 54 87.78 10.18 98 0.11NS
PG & above 46 91.59 12.78
Income upto 30,000 65 89.49 11.59 98 0.96NS
30,000 & above 35 89.6 11.65
Age 46 to 49 years 65 88.75 11.42 98 0.38NS
50 to 65 years 35 90.91 11.83

*P ≤ 0.05 level of significance

Table 4 shows that, there is no significant difference on Spiritual Wellbeing as far as gender, education, income and age of middle aged people is concerned.

Table 5. Comparison of Mean Scores of Depression as for as Gender, Education, Age and Income of Middle Aged People is Concerned

Variable   Group N Mean SD df t-value
Depression Gender Male 73 10.49 8.14 98 0.09NS
Female 27 14 9.17
Education Graduate 54 12.15 8.90 98 0.37NS
PG & above 46 10.61 8.09
Income upto 30,000 65 11.32 8.07 98 0.86NS
30,000 & above 35 11.66 9.44
Age 46 to 49 years 65 11.52 8.90 98 0.89NS
50 to 65 years 35 11.28 7.92

*.P ≤ 0.05 level of significance

Table 5 shows that, there is no significant difference on life satisfaction as far as gender, education, income and age of middle aged people is concerned.

DISCUSSION

The present study was aimed to examine spiritual wellbeing and depression among middle aged people. After analyzing and interpreting the data it was found that there is a significant negative correlation of spiritual wellbeing and depression. This finding is consistent with the study conducted by Callen  et al., (2003). The present research endeavor was aimed to assess and to study the relationship between spiritual wellbeing, life satisfaction and depression among middle aged people. It was revealed during the study that out of 100 middle aged people no one fall at low level of spiritual wellbeing scale , 79%  showed Average level, and 21% showed high level of spiritual well being. Further, with respect to depression, it was found that out of 100 middle aged people 68% of people showed minimal level of depression, 16% of people showed mild level of depression, 10% showed moderate level of depression & 6% of people showed severe level of depression.

The result revealed that there was insignificant difference between male and female on depression among middle aged people. This finding contradicts most of the studies which indicated that females tend to score higher on depression than males (Kessler, et al., 1994). A study that was conducted in Kashmir also revealed higher prevalence of depression among females (64.21%) than in males (68.64%) (Amin & Khan, 2009). But the results of several studies have not supported gender in the incidence of depression (Munford, 1994). However, females (Mean= 14) were found to score more than males (Mean= 10.49). The result revealed that there was insignificant difference on levels of depression among middle aged people as far their age, income, and education is concerned. This finding is consistent with the study conducted by Doolitle & Farrel. (2004). Insignificant difference was found in spiritual wellbeing among middle aged people as far as their education and income level is concerned. This finding contradicts with the study conducted by In Sun Jang, (2004). However people having education level above PG (Mean=12.78) were found to score more than people having education level below PG (Mean= 10.18). The results also revealed that there was insignificant difference in spiritual wellbeing among middle aged people as far as their gender is concerned. This finding contradicts with the study conducted by Jafari (2010). However females (Mean= 89.74) were found to score more than males (Mean= 89.45). The results revealed that there was insignificant difference in spiritual wellbeing among middle aged people as far as their age is concerned. This finding contradicts with the study conducted by Mackenzie et al., (2000). However People aged above 50 (Mean= 90.91) scored more than people aged below 50 (Mean= 88.75).

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[1] Sr. Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Kashmir University, J&K.

[2] Ex. Student, Department of Psychology, Kashmir University, J&K.