A Review of Scientific Outputs on Spirituality and Depression Indexed in Important Databases

Document Type : Systematic Review


1 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Psychology, Research Institute of Howzah and University, Qom, Iran

3 Hadith Department, The University of Quran and Hadith, Qom, Iran

4 Chemical Injuries Research Center, Systems Biology and Poisonings Institute, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Introduction: Depression is known as a mental disability. In recent years, interest in spirituality as a factor in decreasing depression symptoms has increased. The current study evaluated scientific articles on spirituality and depression indexed in the Scopus, PubMed, and Web of Science (WoS) databases.
Methods: This bibliometric review collected all articles on the subject of spirituality and depression published through 2016 from the Scopus, PubMed, and WoS databases. The citation counting period was until 13 September 2017. Data on the yearly trend, top-cited articles, most frequently cited journals, article type, multi-author collaboration, and international collaboration was collected from both articles from Iran and other countries.
Results: A total of 516 documents published by the end of 2016 were retrieved from the Scopus, PubMed, and WoS databases. The type of article most published was original article (355 (68.8%) articles). The findings showed that the number of documents increased from 1 document in 1932 to 55 documents in 2016. Authors from the USA have produced approximately 60% of the documents published on this matter in the three searched databases, while Iran ranks second with 5.8% (32 documents) of the scientific articles published by the end of 2016. In these 516 articles, multi-author collaboration and international collaboration accounted for 80.7% and 10.6% of articles, respectively. The average number of citations per paper was 19.8 (H-index=47) and 14.6 (H-index=42) in the Scopus and WoS databases, respectively. These rates for Iranian articles were 2.9 (H-index=6) and 0.9 (H-index=3), respectively. Only 4 Iranian papers had been cited between 7 to 15 times; all other Iranian articles had been cited fewer than 4 times.
Conclusions: Iran has a low number of articles on spirituality and depression in the international indexes. As a religious and ideological country, Iran needs to increase its efforts to extend its spiritual and religious ideas on the international level. Establishing effective research networks that include other universities or countries and encouraging researchers and journals to focus on hot topics and international indexes are two approaches to managing future research in Iran.


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