Regular attendance is key, researchers say, but they don't know why,,,,
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Attending a weekly religious service, regardless of your faith, may lower your risk of death by 20 percent compared to people who don't attend services, researchers are reporting.
"Religion is always a hot topic, but particularly now, when people are perhaps in fear because of the recession and the threat of terrorism, people are looking for stability, and religion is something we find people reach out to for that stability. And, we see some health benefits here," said the study's lead author, Eliezer Schnall, a clinical assistant professor of psychology at Yeshiva College at Yeshiva University in New York City.
"Maybe it's the sense of community, or the support, or maybe people are less depressed when they join in religious services," he said, adding that the researchers tried to control the data to account for many of these factors, but "we have not completely explained it all."
Results of the study were published in the current issue of the journal Psychology and Health.
The study participants came from the large Women's Health Initiative observational study, and included nearly 95,000 women from all over the United States. The women were all between 50 and 79 years old at the start of the study.
When the study began, each woman filled out extensive questionnaires regarding health history, health behaviors, psychosocial factors, demographics and religion. Medical information was obtained yearly for each study volunteer, and the average follow-up time was 7.7 years.
Before adjusting the data, there was no significant difference in the risk of death between regular religious service attendees and those who chose not to attend. Schnall noted that there were many reasons why this could be so. But the main reason, he said, could be that people who go to religious service
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