Religious participation, interleukin-6, and mortality in older adults

Health Psychol. 2004 Sep;23(5):465-75. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.23.5.465.


This study prospectively examined the relationship between religious attendance, interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels, and mortality rates in a community-based sample of 557 older adults. Attending religious services more than once weekly was a significant predictor of lower subsequent 12-year mortality and elevated IL-6 levels (> 3.19 pg/mL), with a mortality ratio of.32 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.15,0.72; p <.01) and an odds ratio for elevated IL-6 of.34 (95% CI = 0.16, 0.73, p <.01), compared with never attending religious services. Structural equation modeling indicated religious attendance was significantly related to lower mortality rates and IL-6 levels, and IL-6 levels mediated the prospective relationship between religious attendance and mortality. Results were independent of covariates including age, sex, health behaviors, chronic illness, social support, and depression. Findings are consistent with a role for IL-6 in processes mediating the relationship between religious attendance and mortality.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / classification
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / immunology*
  • Aging / psychology
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Iowa
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Mortality*
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data


  • Interleukin-6