Monday, December 11, 2017

Mortality: Church and Religious Service Attendance Impact (Research, Video 1:39)

Have you ever thought about attending church or religious services as a means of extending your life? Apparently, others have in the past. Unfortunately, previous studies on the association between attendance at church and religious services and mortality often have been limited by inadequate methods for reverse causation, inability to assess effects over time, and limited information on mediators and cause-specific mortality. This particular study, which is focused on women, evaluates the associations between attendance at religious services and subsequent mortality. 

Using a self-reported questionnaire over a period of 20 years, participants numbering 74,534 women in the Nurses' Health Study who were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer at baseline. Among the 74,534 participants, there were 13,537 deaths. Data analysis was conducted from returns of 11,996 questionnaires. After adjustment for major lifestyle factors, risk factors, and attendance at religious services, attending a religious service more than once per week was associated with 33% lower all-cause mortality compared with women who had never attended religious services.

The research concluded that “frequent attendance at religious services was associated with significantly lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality among women. Religion and spirituality may be underappreciated resources that physicians could explore with their patients, as appropriate.”

The following video explains research on church attendance regarding “middle-aged (ages 40 to 65) adults who attended church (or other houses of worship) and reduced their risk for mortality by 55 percent.” Research is explained by Marino Bruce, associate director of the Center for Research on Men's Health at Vanderbilt University and main author of the study with Keith Norris, professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. There are also nine other co-authors.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
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