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The Mediating Effect of Depression in Religiosity and Cognitive Function among Chinese Muslim Elderly

Author(s): Yan Sun, Wanrui Ma, Yanxiao Wu, Harold G. Koenig, Zhizhong Wang

The current study examined the association between religiosity and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), along with the mediating role of depression, in Chinese Muslim elderly sample. 1,347 community Muslims aged 55 years or older were recruited in Ningxia, China. The Mini- Mental State Exam, the Geriatric Depression Scale, and the Duke University Religion Index were administered. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to detect the mediation effect. Approximately 21.3% participants reported experiencing mild or severe depressive symptoms and 25.7% met criteria for MCI. Religiosity was associated with a lower risk of MCI (OR=0.83, P<0.05), while depression was associated with a greater risk of MCI (OR=1.70, P<0.01). SEM analysis revealed that depression significantly mediated the association between the religiosity and MCI with an effect ratio of 0.33 (explaining 33.0% of the total variance). In summary, religiosity was related to cognitive functioning partly due to its inverse relationship with depression in older Chinese Muslims.

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