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.
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CalGirlTPRDr. EowynAlmacogitoergosumantra Recent comment authors
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Reblogged this on On the Patio and commented:
Interesting findings. Not unexpected but still interesting.


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

True George

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… Read more »


Yeah. It didn’t even include “eternity” after this life.


EXACTLY my thought… 4 years PLUS eternity = Well, ETERNITY… ;~)
Not so sure I actually look forward to another 4 years here on earth, but that whole eternity thing afterwards? count me in.


Seek and you shall find.


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


[…] via Religious people live 4 years longer than atheists — Fellowship of the Minds […]


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… Read more »


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… Read more »


[…] Religious people live 4 years longer than atheists […]