Women who attend religious services regularly tend to be healthier and live longer than those who don’t, according to a new study conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. As a result, the researchers recommend that doctors reconsider religion as a resource for their patients.
The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that “attending a religious service more than once per week was associated with 33% lower all-cause mortality compared with women who had never attended religious services.” In particular, women who attended religious services more than once a week had better survival rates of cardiovascular problems and cancer.
These correlations remained even when the researchers accounted for smoking, depression, social support, and other health risk factors. The study followed 74,534 women with a wide range of religious practices from 1992 to 2012.
“Religion and spirituality,” the researchers concluded, “may be an underappreciated resource that physicians could explore with their patients, as appropriate.”
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