Social Indicators Research

, Volume 125, Issue 2, pp 677–694 | Cite as

Religious and Secular Coping Strategies and Mortality Risk among Older Adults

  • Lindsey McDougle
  • Sara Konrath
  • Marlene Walk
  • Femida Handy


Using data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, the purpose of this study is twofold. First, the study identifies coping strategies used by older adults. Second, the study examines the impact of older adults’ chosen coping strategies on mortality reduction. The study focuses specifically on differences in the use of religious and secular coping strategies among this population. The findings suggest that although coping strategies differ between those who self-classify as religious and those who self-classify as nonreligious, for both groups social approaches to coping (e.g., attending church and volunteering) are more likely than individual approaches (e.g., praying or active/passive coping) to reduce the risk of mortality. The most efficacious coping strategies, however, are those matched to characteristics of the individual.


Religious coping Secular coping Mortality Older adults 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lindsey McDougle
    • 1
  • Sara Konrath
    • 2
  • Marlene Walk
    • 3
  • Femida Handy
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Public Affairs and AdministrationRutgers, The State University of New JerseyNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Lilly Family School of PhilanthropyIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  3. 3.School of Social Policy and PracticeUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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