Public Forum Papers

Ageing International

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 215-241

First online:

Religion, religiosity and spirituality in the biopsychosocial model of health and ageing

  • Adam B. CohenAffiliated withInstitute of Personality and Social Research, University of California Email author 
  • , Harold G. Koenig

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Religiosity/spirituality and the tendency to use these in coping are common in older adults. We review evidence that these are positively associated with mental and physical health in older adults, as well as evidence that members of different religious groups differ in levels of health. Studies on mental health include those that examine well-being and depression. Physical health outcomes include mortality, cancer, stroke, and physical functioning. We discuss the issue of causality and possible mediators of effects of religiosity/spirituality on health outcomes, paying special attention to possible psychological mediators. Last, we discuss possible differences in these associations between members of various cultural and religious groups, and caution that there may be theological problems with the use of religion to promoting health.