Does Religious Activity Distinguish the Mortality Experiences of Older Taiwanese? An Analysis Using Eighteen Years of Follow-Up Data

Abstract

This paper extends investigation of religiosity and longevity to Taiwan using a 1989 survey: N = 3849, aged 60+, with 18 years of follow-up. Religious activity is measured as worship and performance of rituals. A Gompertz regression, adjusted and non-adjusted for covariates and mediating factors, shows the hazard of dying is lower for the religiously active versus the non-active. Transformed into life table functions, a 60-year-old religiously active Taiwanese female lives more than 1 year longer than her non-religious counterpart, ceteris paribus. Mainland Chinese migrants are examined carefully because of unique religious and health characteristics. They live longer, but the religiosity gap is similar.

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Acknowledgements

Funding for this research has been provided by the John Templeton Foundation, Award No. 57521. The lead author acknowledges funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada through their Canada Research Chairs Program.

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Correspondence to Zachary Zimmer.

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The research reported in this paper complies with ethical standards: IRB No. 15-17165, Reference No. 152120, Human Research Protection Program, Committee on Human Research, University of California, San Francisco.

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Zimmer, Z., Chiu, C., Saito, Y. et al. Does Religious Activity Distinguish the Mortality Experiences of Older Taiwanese? An Analysis Using Eighteen Years of Follow-Up Data. J Relig Health 59, 289–308 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-019-00778-x

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Keywords

  • Taiwan
  • Religion
  • Mainlander
  • Mortality
  • Worship