Religious Attendance, Age, and U.S. Adult Mortality

Benjamin Moulton, University of Texas at Austin
Robert A. Hummer, University of Texas at Austin
Richard G. Rogers, University of Colorado at Boulder

The publication of Durkheim's classic work Suicide (1897) began a long tradition of examining the relationship between religious factors and mortality risks. Recent findings from this line of research strongly suggest that religious involvement is a protective factor in regards to adult mortality risks in the United States. Little of this research, however, examines the religion-mortality relationship among different age groups, which is important because reasons for religious involvement, as well as mortality risks, vary quite extensively across the life-course. The present study contributes to this line of research by examining the effects of religious involvement on mortality risk among different age groups. The study relies upon a 1987 nationally-representative sample of roughly 22,000 adult Americans, followed for survival through 1997. Our findings suggest that religious involvement appears to be most beneficial survival among persons in middle age (45-64), and may have the least impact among persons 65 and older.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Health and Mortality