Religious people live 4 years longer than atheists

Four days ago, I posted about church attendance reducing suicide risk by half.

Here is more evidence that being a Christian is good for our health, both mental and physical.

The lonely world of atheists

A study by a team of researchers found a surprising correlation between longevity and religious faith: religious people live up to four years longer than atheists.

Published on June 13, 2018 in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, the article “Does Religion Stave Off the Grave? Religious Affiliation in One’s Obituary and Longevity” was authored by:

  1. Laura Wallace, the lead author, is a doctoral student of psychology at Ohio State University (OSU).
  2. Rebecca Anthony, who is in her final year of medical school at OSU.
  3. Dr. Christian End, associate professor of psychology at Xavier University.
  4. Dr. Baldwin Way, associate professor of psychology at OSU.

As summarized by a press release from Ohio State University, the study employed two samples of obituaries;

  1. A first sample of 505 obituaries published in Iowa’s Des Moines Register  in January and February 2012, showed that people with religious affiliations lived 9.45 years longer than atheists. The gap in longevity shrank to 6.48 years when gender and marital status were taken into account.
  2. A second sample of 1,096 obituaries from 42 major U.S. cities published on newspaper websites between August 2010 and August 2011, found that people whose obits mentioned a religious affiliation lived an average of 5.64 years longer than those whose obits did not. That gap shrank to 3.82 years after gender and marital status were considered.

The researchers tried to account for these likely explanatory (or “contaminating”) factors:

  • Many studies have shown that people who volunteer and participate in social groups tend to live longer than others. As an example, attending church regularly increases the odds of becoming friends with other attendees. Wallace et al. combined data from both samples and determined that volunteerism and social engagement only partly accounted for the greater longevity of religious people. Wallace said: “We found that volunteerism and involvement in social organizations only accounted for a little less than one year of the longevity boost that religious affiliation provided. There’s still a lot of the benefit of religious affiliation that this can’t explain.”
  • What about the importance that many religions place on conformity to community values and norms? The researchers found that in highly religious cities where conformity was important, religious people tended to live longer than non-religious people.

Other possible explanatory factors:

  • The researchers allowed that the longevity effect of religious affiliation may have to do with the rules and norms of many religions restricting unhealthy practices such as alcohol, drug use and sexual promiscuity.
  • In addition, Dr. Way said, “many religions promote stress-reducing practices that may improve health, such as gratitude, prayer or meditation.”
  • Way also admitted that the study could not control for important factors related to longevity such as race and health behaviors.

Nevertheless, lead author Wallace said that overall, the study provides additional support to the growing number of studies showing that religion does have a positive effect on health.

See also:


14 responses to “Religious people live 4 years longer than atheists

  1. Reblogged this on On the Patio and commented:

    Interesting findings. Not unexpected but still interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. In Four Words: “Love builds, – Hate destroys.”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. where do you find these baseless studies?


    • Did you even read the PDF of the study? The link Dr. Eowyn provided does work. Here’s the abstract and the references cited in the study:

      Abstract: Self-reported religious service attendance has been linked with longevity. However, previous work has largely relied on self-report data and volunteer samples. Here, mention of a religious affiliation in obituaries was analyzed as an alternative measure of religiosity. In two samples (N = 505 from Des Moines, IA, and N = 1,096 from 42 U.S. cities), the religiously affiliated lived 9.45 and 5.64 years longer, respectively, than the nonreligiously affiliated. Additionally, social integration and volunteerism partially mediated the religion–longevity relation. In Study 2, exploratory analyses suggested that the religion–longevity association was moderated by city-level religiosity and city-level personality. In cities with low levels of trait openness, the nonreligiously affiliated had reduced longevity in highly religious cities relative to less religious cities, consistent with the religion-as-social-value hypothesis. Conversely, in cities with high levels of openness, the opposite trend was observed, suggesting a spillover effect of religion. The religiously affiliated were less influenced by these cultural factors.

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      Liked by 3 people

    • What is wrong with you? Do you not know what embedded linked sources are?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Seek and you shall find.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m just a navigator passing by, this journey will be over and I’ll speed off to the eternal horizon

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: Religious people live 4 years longer than atheists — Fellowship of the Minds – NZ Conservative Coalition

  6. I will gladly accept four extra years & more!

    A study re religious longevity with a researcher named > Dr. “CHRISTIAN END” ! What are the chances. Funny that.

    One benefit of salvation & “a religious lifestyle” mentioned is putting behind prior “worldly ways” & not doing dumb reckless things (such as speeding, being at “all night art exhibits,” bungie-jumping, sky diving, being anywhere you shouldn’t, doing anything you shouldn’t, etc. etc. Common Sense & Godly Sense are our “friends.” Who needs the “adrenaline thrills” that bad?)

    “…they [unbelievers] are surprised that you do not PLUNGE with them into the same flood of debauchery…”
    –1st Peter 4:4.

    Letting go of “debauchery” & living with a “sober mind” should definitely be worth at the least four more years.

    (Other versions say: recklessness, dissipation, excess of riot, profligacy, wild living, etc.):

    Generally & historically speaking, they say married people live longer than singles; & that women live longer than men. I’m not so sure that still applies.

    I think life into one’s 80’s & 90’s has more to do with being born before WW2, before widespread chemicals in everything, before Big Pharma became hugely “famous,” before fresh-farm food turned into mass-produced denatured processed & packaged food, etc.

    My parents’ generation/friends/relatives, born 1920’s & 1930’s, lived until their 80’s. People born in the 1940’s & 1950’s are not faring as well it would seem, even Christians (from personal experience):
    –Christian female nurse friend, lived alone – died age 57.5, found dead in bed (stroke they said).
    –Christian female SIL, married – died age 59 (cancer).
    –Christian couple/friends (obviously married) – both died age 72 six years apart (heart related).
    –Christian-Jewish female friend, married – died age 66 (cancer).
    –Christian female friend (since grade school), married – died age 66 (her whole family almost wiped out in 3-years time post-Smart Meters: son died age 37, found dead in bed (kidneys weakness); husband died 3 years later age 71, then his wife, my friend, died four months later age 66 (both heart related). One son & one adopted son still standing).
    –None of those friends were drinkers nor druggies nor “revelers,” none were suicides; though a few did take RXs for various ailments.

    –My guess is Smart Meters are now speeding up deaths due to the timing (which is why I often “preach” about it) — the physically-weaker are affected first; they are full-time radiation meters (at varying intensities), especially if you’re older & stay at home a lot & are exposed to it around the clock.
    –Dr. Martin Pall (PhD/scientist) says it’s very bad for the heart (Voltage-Gated Calcium Channels), the CNS, & the brain (Dementia):–special-guest-dr-martin-pall
    –Sadly, even churches are “helping” speed up & spread around radiation coverage. The host of the above & below 5G radio interviews said a church with steeple next to him allowed a telecom to install a huge antenna inside the steeple (for pay $$ of course). He went to the church to talk to them about the dangers & they refused to even discuss it with him & turned him away (+ excellent info how to fight 5G locally & the scams/lies being used to push it vs. the 100% safe Fiber Optic):–special-guest-paul-g

    The Bad News: “Thanks” to Adam we all die…

    “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned…”
    –Romans 5:12.

    The Good News: Thanks to Christ & His sacrifice, believers will “reign in life” in the “Christian End”:

    “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”
    –Romans 5:17.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TPR: I’ve been an artist AND historian by degrees since the 1970’s and also a geneological researcher since the 1980’s. I can NOT fail to notice here that, in my research, the most-long-lived generation that I research was that born immediately following the Civil War….so……1870’s and up to about the 1920’s—some of whom (from the 20’s ) are still alive today (inlcuding my own in-laws…BOTH OF THEM). So, what was going on in that 50-year period of birthings that gave us such long-lived Americans? Remember, this, too, was in largely a pre-anti-biotic era…. there were Sulfa Drugs at some point in this 50 years….but NOT, for instance, penicillin ….which came much later (WWII????). In my gleanings, morbidity at the turn of the century was largely due to such things as tuberculosis (large geographical swaths where there were “micro colonies of TB infection/death around 1900 or a little before)…..or diabetes, appendicitis (and post-op infections thereupon)…..and a few mentions of kidney-related demise (which could, of course, also relate to diabetes, or other long-term health problems not recognized in the day). Accidental death was alarmingly high in that era: death by mechanical means… a work setting (many farm and factory deaths)…..or by drownings (teach your kid to swim)…or by negligence (father ran over the kid who fell asleep in the field while dad was mowing clover)……and some by conditions of the day (house fires caused by the kitchen stove, etc…..). Overall, I’ve noticed in my general research that this generation born between roughly 1875-1925 has had the most spectcular longevity…..easily into the 80’s and some 90’s. …this, in an era of very little medical support or necessity. It appears to have declined into the 70’s and 80’s in their children….and now….into 60’s and 70’s in their grandchildren….an occassional 80……( my mom and one of her sisters, for instance). But, I am in the great-grandchild generation and wonder if this decline in years is progressing and reliable and I still wonder WHY????

      Liked by 2 people

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