According to new research that followed a group of people over 10 years, the answer is a qualified “Yes.”
The new longitudinal research out of Columbia University wanted to follow up on previous research demonstrating this correlation between spirituality or religiosity and a reduced risk for depression.
The researchers continued to follow up on a set of subjects they had used in the previous study, following them from the 10-year mark (when the older research had ended) to the 20-year mark. The subjects in the study were 114 adult offspring of both depressed parents and parents who had no depression.
Those at the highest risk for depression because they were the child of a depressed parent (that genetic and environmental connection that’s important for determining depression risk) had the biggest reduction in risk due to their spirituality or religious nature.
So according to this follow up longitudinal research, spirituality or religion appears to have a protective effect against primarily the recurrence of depression. In some, it may also protect against the onset of depression. This effect was strongest in those whose one or more parents also suffered from depression.