Religion and Health in Rural Malawi

  • Jacob KendallEmail author
Original Paper


While research has found important links between religion and health, there is a gap in knowledge in sub-Saharan Africa. The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between religion and health in rural Malawi. After controlling for baseline health, results show that: (1) the relationship differs between younger (15–44 years) and older (45 + years) adults; (2) among younger adults, Muslims are relatively less healthy, whereas Muslims are healthier in older age; (3) religious activities have a stronger relationship with health than do other measures, especially for women; and (4) religious activities have a relationship with health only for two or more activities. These findings suggest that religion is tied to health in Malawi, especially for older women. This paper was originally presented at the European Conference on African Studies in June 2017.


Malawi Aging Health Religion 



The Malawi Longitudinal Study of Families and Health (MLSFH) has been supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Development (Grant Nos. R03 HD058976, R21 HD050652, R01 HD044228, R01 HD053781), the National Institute on Aging (Grant No. P30 AG12836), the Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Security at the University of Pennsylvania, and the National Institute of Child Health and Development Population Research Infrastructure Program (Grant No. R24 HD-044964). The MLSFH has also been supported by pilot funding received through the Penn Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), supported by NIAID AI 045008, and the Penn Institute on Aging. This paper is a reworked version of an earlier paper presented at the European Conference on African Studies in Basel, Switzerland, in 2017. (The author gratefully acknowledges comments from Philip Anglewicz at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, and Katrien Pype at the Catholic University of Leuven in Leuven, Belgium.)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International and Global StudiesMercer UniversityMaconUSA

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