Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 354–360 | Cite as

Trajectories of disability in older adulthood and social support from a religious congregation: a growth curve analysis

  • R. David Hayward
  • Neal Krause


This study examined the role of congregational support as a mechanism by which religious involvement may slow the decline of functional ability during late life. Disability was tracked longitudinally over a 4-year period in a national sample of 805 Black and White older adults from the religion, aging, and health survey. Individuals with more extensive disability reported receiving greater amounts of tangible support from their congregations. However, receiving higher levels of tangible support was also associated with a slower trajectory of increase in disability over time. The relationship between congregational support and disability did not differ significantly between Blacks and Whites. Results support the hypothesis that social support networks based in the religious group are responsible for some of the association between religious involvement and reduced risk of late life disability.


Disability Religion Social support Race Growth curve analysis 



This work was supported by National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health (grant number R01 AG014749); and the John Templeton Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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