Advertisement

European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 32, Issue 10, pp 921–929 | Cite as

Religiousness and health in Europe

  • Linda Juel Ahrenfeldt
  • Sören Möller
  • Karen Andersen-Ranberg
  • Astrid Roll Vitved
  • Rune Lindahl-Jacobsen
  • Niels Christian Hvidt
MENTAL HEALTH

Abstract

Recent research suggests that epidemiological forces in religion and health can have opposed effects. Using longitudinal data of people aged 50+ included in wave 1 (2004–2005) of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), and followed up through waves 2 (2006–2007), 4 (2011) and 5 (2013), we examined two forms of religious internalization and their association with health. Multivariate logistic regressions were used to examine all associations. Taking part in a religious organization was associated with lower odds of GALI (global activity limitation index) (OR = 0.86, 95% CI 0.75, 0.98) and depressive symptoms 0.80 (95% CI 0.69, 0.93), whereas being religiously educated lowered odds of poor self-rated health (SRH) 0.81 (95% CI 0.70, 0.93) and long-term health problems 0.84 (95% CI 0.74, 0.95). The more religious had lower odds of limitations with activities of daily living 0.76 (95% CI 0.58, 0.99) and depressive symptoms 0.77 (95% CI 0.64, 0.92) than other respondents, and compared to people who only prayed and did not have organizational involvement, they had lower odds of poor SRH 0.71 (95% CI 0.52, 0.97) and depressive symptoms 0.66 (95% CI 0.50, 0.87). Conversely, people who only prayed had higher odds of depressive symptoms than non-religious people 1.46 (95% CI 1.15, 1.86). Our findings suggest two types of religiousness: 1. Restful religiousness (praying, taking part in a religious organization and being religiously educated), which is associated with good health, and 2. Crisis religiousness (praying without other religious activities), which is associated with poor health.

Keywords

Religiousness Activity limitations Self-rated health Depression Europe 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This article uses data from SHARE waves 1 (2004–2005), 2 (2006–2007), 4 (2011) and 5 (2013). The SHARE data collection has been primarily funded by the European Commission through the 5th framework programme (project QLK6-CT-2001-00360). Additional funding came from the US National Institute on Ageing (U01 AG09740-13S2, P01 AG005842, P01 AG08291, P30 AG12815, Y1-AG-4553-01 and OGHA 04-064). Further support from the European Commission through the 6th framework programme (projects SHARE-I3, RII-CT-2006-062193, and COMPARE, CIT5-CT-2005-028857) is gratefully acknowledged. For methodological details, see Börsch-Supan et al. (2013).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10654_2017_296_MOESM1_ESM.docx (23 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 23 kb)

References

  1. 1.
    Koenig HG. Religion, spirituality, and health: the research and clinical implications. ISRN Psychiatry. 2012;2012:278730. doi: 10.5402/2012/278730.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Koenig HG, King DE, Carson VB. Handbook of Religion and Health. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2012.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Chida Y, Steptoe A, Powell LH. Religiosity/spirituality and mortality. A systematic quantitative review. Psychother Psychosom. 2009;78(2):81–90. doi: 10.1159/000190791.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    McCullough ME, Hoyt WT, Larson DB, Koenig HG, Thoresen C. Religious involvement and mortality: a meta-analytic review. Health Psychol. 2000;19(3):211–22.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    O. Harrison M, Koenig HG, Hays JC, Eme-Akwari AG, Pargament KI. The epidemiology of religious coping: a review of recent literature. Int Rev Psychiatry. 2001;13(2):86–93. doi: 10.1080/09540260124356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Pargament KI, Ensing DS, Falgout K, Olsen H, Reilly B, Van Haitsma K, et al. God help me:(I): religious coping efforts as predictors of the outcomes to significant negative life events. Am J Commun Psychol. 1990;18(6):793–824.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Pargament KI, Olsen H, Reilly B, Falgout K, Ensing DS, Van Haitsma K. God help me (II): the relationship of religious orientations to religious coping with negative life events. J Sci Study Relig. 1992;31(4):504–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    AbdAleati NS, Mohd Zaharim N, Mydin YO. Religiousness and Mental Health: Systematic Review Study. J Relig Health. 2016;55(6):1929–37. doi: 10.1007/s10943-014-9896-1.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Arnes SM, Kleiven M, Olstad R, Fonnebo V. Religious affiliation and mental health–is there a connection? health survey in Finnmark 1990. Tidsskrift for den Norske laegeforening: tidsskrift for praktisk medicin, ny raekke. 1996;116(30):3598–601.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Whitfield W. Religion and mental health. Int J Psychiatr Nurs Res. 1999;5(2):553.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Swinton J, Pattison S. Spirituality. Come all ye faithful. Health Serv J. 2001;111(5786):24–5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Thygesen LC, Dalton SO, Johansen C, Ross L, Kessing LV, Hvidt NC. Psychiatric disease incidence among Danish seventh-day adventists and Baptists. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2013;48(10):1583–90. doi: 10.1007/s00127-013-0669-z.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Pargament KI. The Psychology of Religion and Coping: Theory, Research, Practice. New York: The Guildford Press; 1997.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Pargament KI, Kennell J, Hathaway W, Grevengoed N, Newman J, Jones W. Religion and the problem-solving process: three styles of coping. J Sci Study Relig. 1988;27(1):90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Pargament KI, Smith BW, Koenig HG, Perez L. Patterns of positive and negative religious coping with major life stressors. J Sci Study Relig. 1998;37(4):710–24. doi: 10.2307/1388152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hvidt NC, Hvidtjorn D, Christensen K, Nielsen JB, Sondergaard J. Faith moves mountains-mountains move faith: two opposite epidemiological forces in research on religion and health. J Relig Health. 2016;. doi: 10.1007/s10943-016-0300-1.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ryan RM, Rigby S, King K. Two types of religious internalization and their relations to religious orientations and mental health. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1993;65(3):586.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ferraro KF, Kelley-Moore JA. Religious consolation among men and women: do healthproblems spur seeking? J Sci Study Relig. 2000;39(2):220–34. doi: 10.1111/0021-8294.00017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ferraro KF, Kelley-Moore JA. Religious seeking among affiliates and non-affiliates: do mental and physical health problems spur religious coping? Rev Relig Res. 2001;42(3):229–51. doi: 10.2307/3512568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Blalock HM, editor. Causal Models in the Social Sciences. New York: Aldine Transactions; 1985.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Elsass PM, Veiga JF. Acculturation in acquired organizations: a force-field perspective. Hum Relat. 1994;47(4):431–53. doi: 10.1177/001872679404700404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    George LK, Ellison CG, Larson DB. Explaining the relationships between religious involvement and health. Psychol Inq. 2002;13(3):190–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Wink P, Ciciolla L, Dillon M, Tracy A. Religiousness, spiritual seeking, and personality: findings from a longitudinal study. J Pers. 2007;75(5):1051–70. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2007.00466.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Pargament KI. The bitter and the sweet: an evaluation of the costs and benefits of religiousness. Psychol Inq. 2002;13(3):168–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Borsch-Supan A, Brandt M, Hunkler C, Kneip T, Korbmacher J, Malter F, et al. Data resource profile: the survey of health, ageing and retirement in Europe (SHARE). Int J Epidemiol. 2013;42(4):992–1001. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyt088.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    UNESCO. International standard classification of education—ISCED 1997, Re-edition (2006). http://www.uis.unesco.org.
  27. 27.
    Jagger C, Gillies C, Cambois E, Van Oyen H, Nusselder W, Robine JM. The global activity limitation index measured function and disability similarly across European countries. J Clin Epidemiol. 2010;63(8):892–9. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2009.11.002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Castro-Costa E, Dewey M, Stewart R, Banerjee S, Huppert F, Mendonca-Lima C, et al. Ascertaining late-life depressive symptoms in Europe: an evaluation of the survey version of the EURO-D scale in 10 nations. The SHARE project. Int J Method Psychiatr Res. 2008;17(1):12–29. doi: 10.1002/mpr.236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Croezen S, Avendano M, Burdorf A, van Lenthe FJ. Social participation and depression in old age: a fixed-effects analysis in 10 European countries. Am J Epidemiol. 2015;182(2):168–76. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwv015.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Nicholson A, Rose R, Bobak M. Association between attendance at religious services and self-reported health in 22 European countries. Soc Sci Med. (1982). 2009;69(4):519–28. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.06.024.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Park NS, Klemmack DL, Roff LL, Parker MW, Koenig HG, Sawyer P, et al. Religiousness and longitudinal trajectories in elders’ functional status. Res Aging. 2008;30(3):279–98. doi: 10.1177/0164027507313001.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Norton MC, Singh A, Skoog I, Corcoran C, Tschanz JT, Zandi PP, et al. Church attendance and new episodes of major depression in a community study of older adults: the cache county study. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2008;63(3):P129–37.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Di Gessa G, Grundy E. The relationship between active ageing and health using longitudinal data from Denmark, France, Italy and England. J Epidemiol Commun Health. 2014;68(3):261–7. doi: 10.1136/jech-2013-202820.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Balbuena L, Baetz M, Bowen R. Religious attendance, spirituality, and major depression in Canada: a 14-year follow-up study. Can J Psychiatry Revue Can de Psychiatr. 2013;58(4):225–32. doi: 10.1177/070674371305800408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Li S, Okereke OI, Chang SC, Kawachi I, VanderWeele TJ. Religious service attendance and lower depression among women-a prospective Cohort study. Ann Behav Med. 2016;50(6):876–84. doi: 10.1007/s12160-016-9813-9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Strawbridge WJ, Shema SJ, Cohen RD, Kaplan GA. Religious attendance increases survival by improving and maintaining good health behaviors, mental health, and social relationships. Ann Behav Med. 2001;23(1):68–74. doi: 10.1207/s15324796abm2301_1.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Koenig HG. Religion and remission of depression in medical inpatients with heart failure/pulmonary disease. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2007;195(5):389–95. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31802f58e3.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Lucette A, Ironson G, Pargament KI, Krause N. Spirituality and religiousness are associated with fewer depressive symptoms in individuals with medical conditions. Psychosomatics. 2016;57(5):505–13. doi: 10.1016/j.psym.2016.03.005.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    VanderWeele TJ, Jackson JW, Li S. Causal inference and longitudinal data: a case study of religion and mental health. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2016;51(11):1457–66. doi: 10.1007/s00127-016-1281-9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Maselko J, Hayward RD, Hanlon A, Buka S, Meador K. Religious service attendance and major depression: a case of reverse causality? Am J Epidemiol. 2012;175(6):576–83. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwr349.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Vanderweele TJ. Re: “Religious service attendance and major depression: a case of reverse causality?”. Am J Epidemiol. 2013;177(3):275–6. doi: 10.1093/aje/kws415.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Sowa A, Golinowska S, Deeg D, Principi A, Casanova G, Schulmann K, et al. Predictors of religious participation of older Europeans in good and poor health. Eur J Ageing. 2016;13:145–57. doi: 10.1007/s10433-016-0367-2.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda Juel Ahrenfeldt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sören Möller
    • 3
  • Karen Andersen-Ranberg
    • 2
  • Astrid Roll Vitved
    • 2
  • Rune Lindahl-Jacobsen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Niels Christian Hvidt
    • 4
  1. 1.Max-Planck Odense Center on the Biodemography of AgingUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark
  2. 2.Unit of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and BiodemographyUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark
  3. 3.OPEN – Odense Patient data Explorative Network, Odense University Hospital and Department of Clinical ResearchUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark
  4. 4.Research Unit of General Practice, Department of Public HealthUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark

Personalised recommendations