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Date: 2003
Date: 1997
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.