Religious attendance as a predictor of survival in the EPESE cohorts

Int J Epidemiol. 2005 Apr;34(2):443-51. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyh396. Epub 2005 Jan 19.


Background: Interest has arisen in recent years in the relationship between religious involvement and health outcomes. Although most of the early literature consists of studies with methodological flaws, some recent well-conducted reports show that religious attendance is associated with reduced mortality in selected subgroups and populations.

Methods: In this study, we investigated the relationship between religious attendance and mortality using the 14,456 participants in the National Institute of Aging-funded 'Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly'.

Results: Our analyses show that after controlling for important prognostic factors, frequent religious attendance was associated with increased survival in the entire cohort [risk ratio (RR) = 0.78, 95% Confidence interval (CI) 0.70-0.88]. However, stratified analyses show that this association exists for only two of the four sites.

Conclusions: We conclude that the association between religious attendance and survival is not robust and may depend upon unknown confounders and covariates.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Religion*
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking
  • Social Environment
  • Survival Rate
  • United States