Tanya Levin in her book “People in Glass Houses” quoted studies showing an incidence of anxiety and depression among Pentecostals as three times higher than other Protestants.
There appears to be some support for this in the literature. This 1994 study by Harold G Koenig states <i> “Among the baby boomers, Pentecostals had significantly higher six-month and lifetime rates of depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, and any DSM-III disorder. “</i> Koenig seems to be a major researcher in this area, conducting several studies on similar themes.
There could be many reasons for this discrepancy with other Protestant denominations. One theory put forward is that Pentecostal denominations in general are composed of lower socio-economic communities and these communities have higher incidences of anxiety and depression anyway.
Other theories point to some element of the belief system as being the cause, perhaps the focus on end-times prophecy.
My own view is that the incidence of these disorders could be caused in a number of cases by the social environment built up in these churches. More than any other denomination, Pentecostal churches tend to be quite heirarchical with a very strictly delineated system for achieving social status. At the top of the social tree is the head-Pastor, with his family directly below him. One achieves greater or lesser social status in the church depending on how attuned one is to the “vision” of the leader. It is to a certain extent natural for young people to identify moving up this social ladder with growing in Christian faith, so they often put considerable resources and efforts into this endeavour.
But the Pentecostal church can have only one leader and it is inevitable that lesser leaders have to exit to make way for others. It is this exit that causes loss of status teamed with the resulting loss of self-esteem that I believe causes great anxiety and depression.