Comments about ‘UVU professor's study puts focus on LDS women and depression’

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Published: Thursday, Jan. 31 2013 9:45 p.m. MST

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Newport Beach, CA

I wouldn't be surprised if simple fatigue had a lot to do with this. More kids = less sleep = less emotional reserves.

"Scientist," take your village atheism back to the basement where it belongs. For every nutcase who fixates on religion, there are multiple nutcases who have nothing to restrain them. Like, for instance, *virtually every spree killer that ever lived,* not one of whom, as far as I can tell, was a believing churchgoer. They're secular liberals to a man. This is not a coincidence.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

From Neal A. Maxwell:

"Whenever Church members speak of consecration, it should be done reverently while acknowledging that each of us "come[s] short of the glory of God," some of us far short (Rom. 3:23). Even the conscientious have not arrived, but they sense the shortfall and are genuinely striving. Consolingly, God's grace flows not only to those "who love [Him] and keep all [His] commandments, "; but likewise to those "that [seek] so to do" (D&C 46:9)."

In our striving, our perfected selves, it is good to recall that we are "made perfect" (D&C 128). Moroni tells us:

"Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ . . . "

Our task is to deny ourselves of ungodliness and to love God as described. We will then one day be perfected by Christ.

We are to be valiant and strive to do our best. Nothing more.

Virginia Beach, VA

As perfection is concerned. The church teaches that the lord knows are capabalites towards perfection. Every member has a different perfection level, and it's up to the member to find there own level of perfection. I just try to take it one step at a time. My two years in Utah there were I met alot of perfection zealots, and some of these good members appeared to be depressed, and others overbearing. I would contribute it to being a Utah saint. My ward in Virginia Beach is very relaxed, and the people appear to be happier overall.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

As someone who has spent his life observing the habits of LDS women, here's one bit of advice I would give to all of you: De-clutter your lives. Many of you have so much going on that you're not getting enough sleep or enough "down time". You can't go to EVERY relief society activity, EVERY ward temple night, EVERY canning assignment, etc. Church by itself can become a full-time job if you allow it to. Likewise, your kids don't have to be in EVERY activity known to man.

In my house, our kids are allowed to do one extracurricular activity at a time (i.e. one sport or one musical instrument) plus scouts. And my wife only goes to the optional activities when she feels like it. We both get 8 hours of sleep a night.

Bottom line: You don't have to do everything (or serve everybody) right now. Slow down.

orem, UT

When I gave birth I was handed a t shirt that said "hypocrite" (figuratively speaking), I wear it often- raising my voice to tell my kids to stop yelling, admonish them to get enough sleep and then staying up until 2am reading Harry Potter, sneaking the milk chocolate chips I bought for Family Home Evening treats, the list goes on.

I used to bake bread before I had to work outside the home. I'm still trying to loose the baby fat from giving birth to my youngest - who is now 12. (After 12 years can it still be considered baby fat?:) )

So what?

I am sorry there are LDS who feel that falling short of perfection means they are unworthy of happiness. The LDS religion does not teach this, no matter how many people with an ax to grind believe it is so.

Jaime Lee Bonberger
Houston, TX

A Scientist

Andrea Yates was diagnosed with mental illness early in her marriage. It was her illness that drove her crime, not some conscious devotion to her religion.

To what religion was the genocidist Pol Pot devoted to? How about the genocidist Joseph Stalin? And Mr Hitler? The answer is that none but Hitler even recognized that there was a God, and Hitler's motivation was entirely racial and nationalistic. He wanted to be the god of the people much like KIm Jong-on is today in N Korea.

So, if the greatest mass murderers of all time had no religion in their lives, why would we ever want to believe like they did?

Another point of interest: What were the religious inspirations of the Sandy Hook killer and the Aurora, Colorado movie theatre killer? Again, answer: None.

Pocatello, ID

I am reading a book written by a LDS woman doctor and it is address to everyone but mostly to LDS women about depression. It has been very interesting learning about depression and how it literally effects the brain and how some are more at risk in getting depression. I think that women of all areas are more prone to becoming depressed mostly because they are as a whole much more emotional about things then are men and have a greater tendency of holding things in.
In my ward in Relief Society we have talked about this often and I know that in "Time out for Women" they have talked about it as have the General Authorities.
We all need to realize that God does not demand perfection of us. We have ages of life after this life to reach perfection. He does expect us to do the best that we can and realizes that we will fall. That is the purpose of the Atonement. So many of us believe in Christ, but how many of us TRULY believe Christ? Not only our sins but the pains of life can be swallowed up in HIS eternal love.

pocatello, ID

"a Scientist" is probably a man and does not have a clue what women go thru. The two women he mentions were not members of any church that I know of. I am also sure from my own family experience that they suffered from depression brought about by hormonal changes, such as bearing children and the resulting changes brought about by that. I have seen first hand what can happen with such hormonal changes. I have someone in my family that has had this happen several times. It was very scary to see her like that. She heard voices telling her to do things to her children. We were lucky in our family that the problem was discovered before too much damage or death happened. She was locked up and treated with medication until her hormones leveled out. We keep an eye on her but with age this has changed. As far as I'm concerned Andrea Yates had no idea what she was doing should have had medical treatment and been confined to a mental health facility.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

The believers sound like they are trying to convince themselves...

Those poor arguments sure aren't convincing anyone else.

heidi ho
Fort Collins, CO

I grew up in Utah and was very depressed my whole life. I had to get out and get into a 12 step program where I learned to take care of myself, not compare myself to others, learn to listen to my intuition, and seek to please my Heavenly Father first. He loves me unconditionally and that is all that matters. I can cut my family a break too. I used to expect perfection of everyone and was always sadly disappointed. I know the Church is true, and seek to love myself and others instead of judging them.

Salt lake City, UT

In 1982 I along with others published a study looking at the risk factors and prevalence of depresseion in Mormon women. The subject was a topic in the local news at the time but there had been no research done. We made every effort we could think of to eliminate bias from the study by randomly selecting participants and by insuring that neither the women conducting the interviews or the study participants knew what the study was about except that we were looking about health issues in women. 193 women participated. We found that there was no difference between Mormon and Non-Mormon women in terms of prevalence of depression and that the factors that related to depression were very similar in the two groups. There has been no study to date that I am aware of that shows a causal relationship between being a Mormon and having depression or any other mental health problem. Perfectionism is likely a problem among many people who struggle with mental health problems. To truely understand that it is a unique problem for Mormon women one would have to conduct a prospective comparative study. This has not been done to date.

salt lake city, utah

You are correct in your comments. Our society is overwhelmed by messages about how great women are and how bad men are. This even happens from the pulpits of the LDS Church and perhaps many other churches as well.

"Study researchers have found that broad generalizations about the likely success of a social group -- of boys or girls, for example -- actually undermined both boys' and girls' performance on a challenging activity." The study further states, "These findings suggest we should be cautious in making pronouncements about the abilities of social groups such as boys and girls. Not only is the truth of such statements questionable, but they also send the wrong message about what it takes to succeed, thereby undermining achievement -- even when they are actually meant as encouragement."

The expectations of women are far to high because of all these types of messages coming from so many parts of our society. The guilt comes as individuals see themselves falling short of these perceived group qualities.

Kill the messages... don't kill the messengers... just re-train the messengers to deliver the "real" true message.

Vincentown, NJ

I'm not a perfectionist - I'm conscientious. And isn't that a good thing? The kids have regular meals, and the bill get paid, and I've only gotten a few speeding tickets. Those are good things. But when I can't do them for health reasons, it's frustrating and upsetting. It took me a long time to learn to recruit help, to learn how to say: I'm in too much physical pain to grocery shop - and I need help. Sometimes the accommodations lasted years.

I'm convinced that part of the issue is that the job of modern motherhood is just too big for one person. I know a pregnant mom, temporarily living with her in-laws who said it has saved her sanity to have help. I agree. When I had the help of a nanny for year, I felt so much better. What if it is simply an issue of too much to do? Like a waitress with 30 tables to serve? Too much for the individual mother to deal with?

Vincentown, NJ

Part 2

We also have fewer and fewer places to meet and socialize. Women used to meet at the bridge club or quilting bee or the market. Most people lived closer to extended family. But go to the grocery store and most of the people you see are total strangers and there is no chance to talk. The popular culture has so denigrated motherhood as something that is a default for the stupid and lazy, that mothers often feel as though we occupy the lowest rungs of social strata. We have the social standing of a kitchen maid in Downton Abbey - so of course that is painful and discouraging.

Vincentown, NJ

Part 3

Motherhood is such a heroic and emotionally and physically demanding job that is unappreciated and unacknowledged on a day to day basis. Getting a card, once year, isn't going to cut it. We need flowers, and date nights, and massages, and someone to cook for us occasionally - and special status as someone who never has to carry in the groceries - (that's what older children can be useful for.) How do we know that this depression - isn't just caregiver burnout? And there are solutions to caregiver burnout including extraordinary self-care.

We live in unusual times, and the design of motherhood is different in many ways than it use to be throughout history. Instead of bringing depression out of the shadows - let's bring mothers out of the shadows and develop forums and opportunities for them to interact and get some recognition for their struggles, sacrifices and accomplishments. Then, as a byproduct, I think we'd see less depressive symptoms.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

Utah - #1 per capita LDS in the United States.
Utah - #1 in anti-depressant medication use.
Utah - #1 in medication over-dose.
Utah - #1 in on-line porn.
Utah - #4 in suicide.

We all like to hear the good news,
but ignorning the bad and simply pretending it doesn't exist doesn't make it go away or get any better.
In fact, ignoring it will just make Utah - dare I say it - get even MORE depressed.

pleasant grove, UT

I disagree it's merely the culture and misunderstanding that cause this.

Spencer Kimball's "The Miracle of Forgiveness" is exhibit A. Mormonism essentially denies the power of the atonement in cleansing sin. You essentially have to pay for you sins in addition to Christ.

At the core is "Are you good enough to get the the Celestial Kingdom?" Accepting Christ isn't enough - you also have to be valiant enough. How valiant? No one ones but if you aren't quite good enough there goes eternity. If even if you are good enough what about your loved ones? Certainly you will fail to be a good enough Mom & spouse to save all of your children & husband & grandchildren. If you can just done a little more, been a little more faithful with scriptures, maybe your children wouldn't have gone astray.

D&C 82:7 ...but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God.

This creates a cycle of hopelessness. If you aren't perfect repentance is meaningless. Not only did you fail by sinning today - all your previous sins are back with a vengeance.

Lindon, UT

Recently I attended a symposium on Suicide prevention. They showed a map of suicides and their prevalence across the Nation, and it was very obvious that the higher the altitudes, the higher the rate of suicide. "How sad" they said, "to think that someone who committed suicide would likely not have done so had they just been born at sea level." (Oxygen deprivation seems to have an effect.)

I know 5 Utah women who suffer from serious depression--two who were not raised LDS but were raised in abusive homes. They believed everyone else was having a perfect life and if they just got out of their abusive home and into a temple marriage everything would be perfect for them also. One is not a Mormon and claims "the tougher things get, the more I hit the wine bottle." One is from a first generation Mormon family from the South whose father was domineering and physically abusive. (This article did list a history of abuse as a commonality). Only one of the five is from a two or more generation LDS "Utah" family with no history of abuse. It seems there are many more facets that need to be studied.


The one flaw to this study. She said the women volunteered unstead of being randomly selected
as they should have been from a larger pool.

Henderson, NV

THank you DCS. I've always believed what you proved -- that there is NO difference between LDS woman and non-LDS woman in terms of depression. The one difference that is clear is that LDS woman don't rely on alcohol or illegal drugs to numb them or to escape the hardships of life. Another difference that I've noticed (as a convert) is that LDS women are much more self-aware and self-actualized than non LDS women. These two factors alone explain higher rates of depression.

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