'Who is God in the pit of ashes?': The Interplay of faith and depression in later life

Dagmar M. Ceramidas

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter


    Depression affects about 12% of community-dwelling Australians over 65 years of age (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2004). While easily treatable, it is believed that less that 50% (Jorm et al. 2004; O'Connor, Rosewarne et al. 2001) of older depressed people seek treatment for depression. Lack of diagnosis of depression can result in reduced quality of life physically and spiritually as the person struggles to cope with every-day activities. It can also lead to self-harm particularly for males over 75 years of age who are in the highest risk category for suicide across all age groups (Trewin 2004).This chapter offers some findings from a recent study into the interaction between Christian faith and depression in the later years of life. Findings are revealed through participants' discussing the challenges of depression against their background of faith, reflecting on their church's response to their illness, and through exposing some personal beliefs that negatively impacted on participants' faith during depression.Within this chapter, depression is viewed from a spiritual perspective complementing existing knowledge of the bio-psycho-social models accepted in general medicine (Kaplan and Sadock 1991). Some spiritual aspects of depression are presented, together with suggestions for pastoral care of elderly Christian people through and between episodes of depression. The study findings can be applied generally to other faiths and community groups.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAgeing, disability, and spirituality
    Subtitle of host publicationaddressing the challenge of disability in later life
    EditorsElizabeth MacKinlay
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherJessica Kingsley Publishers
    Number of pages19
    ISBN (Print)9781843105848
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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