Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Religion and health around the World

Here's a very interesting article about the relationship between religion and health in 140 countries worldwide using 300,000 observations. The authors finds a strong religious effect in terms of health. He summarizes:

"It is almost universally true that the elderly and women are more religious, and I find evidence in favor of a genuine aging effect, not simply a cohort effect associated with secularization. As in previous studies, it is not clear why women are so much more religious than men. In most countries, religious people report better health; they say they have more energy, that their health is better, and that they experience less pain. Their social lives and personal behaviors are also healthier; they are more likely to be married, to have supportive friends, they are more likely to report being treated with respect, they have greater confidence in the healthcare and medical system and they are less likely to smoke. But these effects do not all hold in all countries, and they tend to be stronger for men than for women."

Lots of studies have found this type of finding in the U.S. and Europe, but this project broadens the findings considerably.

Thanks David!


Sarah said...

Can you include a link or a citation? Looks interesting!

David Weakliem said...

It's "Aging, Religion, and Health" by Angus Deaton (Princeton Univ), and can be downloaded from his web page at


Brad Wright said...

Thanks David. I forgot to link in the post.