Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 1188–1202 | Cite as

Religious Attendance and Biological Risk: A National Longitudinal Study of Older Adults

  • Hyungjun Suh
  • Terrence D. HillEmail author
  • Harold G. Koenig
Original Paper


Although several studies suggest that religious involvement is associated with healthier biological functioning in later life, most of this work is cross-sectional. We extend previous research by employing a longitudinal design. Our analysis of Health and Retirement Study (2006/2010) data suggests that older adults who attended religious services weekly or more in 2006 tend to exhibit fewer high-risk biomarkers in 2010 and greater reductions in allostatic load over the 4-year study period than respondents who attended yearly or not at all. These patterns persisted with adjustments for baseline allostatic load and a range of background variables.


Religion Religious involvement Biology Allostatic load Cystatin-C 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors. The current study employs secondary data analysis on de-identified, publicly available data, and therefore did not require IRB approval.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hyungjun Suh
    • 1
  • Terrence D. Hill
    • 1
    Email author
  • Harold G. Koenig
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.School of SociologyThe University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Psychiatry and MedicineDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  3. 3.Department of MedicineKing Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia

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