According to a study by the Yale University School of Medicine, elderly who attend religious services may show improved physical health and psychological well-being.
The three major findings from the study showed…
- Lower frequency of unhealthy behaviors: Subjects are healthier because they are more likely to engage in good health habits, such as exercise, and are less likely to have participated in risky behaviors, such as excessive smoking and heavy drinking.
- Stronger support systems and social ties: Subjects reported more friendships, closer relationships with more family members, and participation in more leisure activities such as visits to museums and sporting events.
- Improved emotional well-being: Subjects reported increased feelings of optimism and happiness and fewer symptoms of depression. The impact was the greatest for people experiencing disability due to chronic illness (such as difficulty with activities like climbing stairs, using the toilet or carrying groceries).
“There were so many reasons for thinking that we should expect better health among people who are religiously involved, but until now it wasn’t anything we were able to quantify,” says Yale professor Idler. “We also found that it wasn’t a person’s individual feelings of religiousness that made the difference, it was acting as part of the larger worship group that fostered positive health.” Amen!