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Religion, Covid-19 and mental health

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Bahal, Girish 
Shastry, Kishen 
Shrivastava, Anand 


Covid-19 and the resulting lockdowns affected various aspects of people’s lives, including their mental health. Using data from an online survey, we investigate the role of religiosity in mediating the effect of Covid-19 on mental health. From February-March 2021, we conducted online surveys in the USA among 5178 individuals. These surveys elicited responses on (i) the incidence of Covid-19 infections among the respondents or their immediate social networks, (ii) religious beliefs and practices, and (iii) mental health. Employing the CES-D scale, which tests for depression in clinical settings, we find that while the incidence of a Covid-19 infection is associated with significantly worse mental health, this negative association is significantly smaller for religious people. We show that the mental health benefits of being religious emanate from the ability to participate in religious activities.



38 Economics, 3801 Applied Economics, 3802 Econometrics, 3803 Economic Theory, Basic Behavioral and Social Science, Coronaviruses, Coronaviruses Disparities and At-Risk Populations, Mental Health, Behavioral and Social Science, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Infectious Diseases, Social Determinants of Health, Brain Disorders, Mental health, 3 Good Health and Well Being

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European Economic Review

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Elsevier BV
Keynes Fund for Applied Economics