Topics: Main Topic: Other, Mental Health, Jewish Women, Haredi / Strictly Orthodox Jews, Orthodox Judaism, Surveys
Abstract: This study found similar prevalence of case depression among men as among women in a sample of 339 Jews affiliated to orthodox synagogues (157 men and 182 women). There were significant gender differences in several social–situational factors and symptoms, mostly in the direction that would suggest that case depression would be higher among women than among men. That this was not so is suggested to be the result of the cultural milieu: social factors that have been found to be associated with depression in other groups of people did not function as risk or vulnerability factors among the Jews studied. In particular, the evidence indicates the importance of specific cultural–religious values in contributing towards the prevalences that were observed. These values included the esteem attached to women's central role in family management and the low use of alcohol and suicide as escape routes from depression.
Topics: Comparisons with other communities, Main Topic: Other, Mental Health, Religious Observance and Practice, Religious Belief
Abstract: This study examined cognitive aspects of coping with stress, how these related to religiosity, and how they related to outcomes (positive mood and distress). Participants (n=126) were of Protestant or Jewish background, and had all experienced recent major stress. They were assessed on measures of religiosity, religious coping, perception of the consequences of the stressful event, attributions for its occurrence, and distress, intrusive unpleasant thoughts, and positive affect. Religiosity affected ways of thinking about the stressful situation, namely: Belief that G-d is enabling the individual to bear their troubles (religious/spiritual support), belief that it was all for the best, and (more weakly) belief that all is ultimately controlled by G-d. Religiosity affected neither the proportion of positive consequences perceived as outcomes of the event, nor the causal attributions examined. Religious background (Protestant vs. Jewish) had negligible effects on the cognitions measures. Causal pathway analysis suggested that religion-related cognitions might directly affect positive affect, but not distress. Problems of design and interpretation are discussed. The study suggests some cognitively mediated means by which religion may have comforting effects.
Topics: Haredi / Strictly Orthodox Jews, Main Topic: Other, Mental Health, Jewish Women, Gender, Psychology/Psychiatry
Abstract: In this community study of orthodox-affiliated Jews in London the social circumstances of anxiety were examined. By contrast with previous work on women in London, danger and early adversity bore only a weak relationship with anxiety in this sample. Eventfulness had the strongest relationship with anxiety of all the circumstances examined. Women were more likely to suffer from borderline anxiety than were men, but there were no gender differences in case anxiety. Women had more eventful lives than men but this could not solely account for gender differences in anxiety. Findings suggest the importance of cultural factors in aetiology.
Haredi Women, Haredi Men, Stress and Distress / Commentary: Haredi Women, Haredi Men: From London to Jerusalem?
Topics: Main Topic: Other, Mental Health, Psychology/Psychiatry, Interviews, Haredi / Strictly Orthodox Jews, Comparative Studies
Abstract: This report examines data from interviews with 179 strictly-orthodox Jews living in London. The impetus was a debate in this journal on the question whether men or women in the strictly-orthodox (haredi) community are more stressed. Many of the observations made in this journal on the quality of life among haredi men and women in Israel were borne out among the strictly-orthodox London Jews interviewed. Quantitatively, severe stress and clinical levels of depression and anxiety were similar among the men and women studied, but women had overall more eventful lives than men, and were more likely to suffer from borderline depression and anxiety - though these differences were only marginally significant. It is suggested that the London sample studied were probably similar to haredim in Israel, and that the findings might therefore be applicable.
Topics: Main Topic: Other, Orthodox Judaism, Haredi / Strictly Orthodox Jews, Psychology/Psychiatry, Mental Health
Abstract: This paper examined stress among two groups of orthodox Jews suggested to differ in the strength of the boundary of their religious group. Comparisons were made between the two groups, and with urban and rural groups studied by other researchers. Proportions of boundary-maintenance events (events whose threat had been caused or exacerbated by Jewishness) and of severe events, and proportions and rates of regular, irregular and disruptive events were examined. Boundary-maintenance events were higher among the more religiously orthodox affiliated group, and among whom religious observance was indeed reported to be higher. It was suggested that conditions of higher boundary maintenance would be associated with higher rates and proportions of regular events and with lower rates and proportions of irregular and disruptive events. Generally, the analyses supported this expectation. Boundary-maintenance events themselves were somewhat less severe, though not less likely to be irregular or disruptive than other events. Depression was shown to be unrelated to boundary-maintenance events and (surprisingly) unrelated to contextual threat when the effects of irregularity-disruption were controlled. Depression was, however, strongly related to irregular and disruptive events. The results are compared with those of related work, and suggest that the general lowering effect of affiliation to a religious group may be partly explained by the effects of boundary maintenance, which involves stress, but of a less depressogenic kind than the disruptive stress associated with conditions of low/no boundary maintenance. The findings have implications for understanding the relations between culture and mental disorder.