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Religion Linked to Reduced All-Cause Mortality Risk

Religious affiliation and frequent religious service attendance associated with reduced mortality risk in postmenopausal women

THURSDAY, Nov. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Religion was associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality, but not coronary heart disease-related morbidity and mortality, according to a study published Nov. 17 in Psychology & Health.

Eliezer Schnall, Ph.D., of Yeshiva University in New York City, and colleagues investigated participants from the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study, which included 92,395 postmenopausal women (aged 50 to 79 years) who answered a self-report questionnaire on several factors, including religion. Follow-up data regarding all-cause mortality or coronary heart disease-related morbidity and mortality were obtained each year after study enrollment, for an average of 7.7 years.

The researchers found that self-report of religious affiliation was associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality (hazard ratio, 0.84). Additionally, frequent religious service attendance and religious strength and comfort were associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality (HR, 0.80, 0.89, respectively). Each of these associations was determined to be significant. Conversely, these religious factors were not found be associated with decreases in coronary heart disease-related morbidity or mortality.

The authors state that this study "may be the first to assess the impact of religious strength and comfort by itself in protecting against coronary heart disease events and all-cause mortality." They also add that future research will help to "further examine this perplexing variable."

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