Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 986–1002 | Cite as

Good for All? Hardly! Attending Church Does Not Benefit Religiously Unaffiliated

  • David Speed
  • Ken Fowler
Original Paper


The existing literature addressing Religion and Spirituality supports the idea that attending church is positively associated with health outcomes. However, within this literature there has been an impoverished effort to determine whether the Religiously Unaffiliated will report these positive relationships. Using representative data from Ontario (N = 3620), the relationships between Religious/Spiritual variables (Attendance, Prayer/Meditation, and Religiosity) and health outcomes (Happiness, Self-Rated Health, and Satisfaction with Life) were assessed. Results focused on three recurring trends: the Religiously Unaffiliated experienced attending church less positively than Christians; when compared at the highest level of Attendance, the Religiously Unaffiliated were less healthy than Christians; and when only considering the Religiously Unaffiliated, Religious/Spiritual variables were not significant and positive predictors of health outcomes. The discussion focused on the need to delineate between how Christians and the Religiously Unaffiliated experience Religious/Spiritual variables, and the need to stop over-generalizing the positive relationship between Religious/Spiritual variables and health.


Religion Health Happiness Self-Rated Health Satisfaction with Life Attendance Church Religiously Unaffiliated Non-religious Statistical moderation Homoscedasticity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Science BuildingMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada

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