Objectives: The purpose of this study was to see if support provided and received from fellow church members reduced the deleterious effects of financial strain on mortality in late life.
Methods: Interviews were conducted with a nationwide sample of 1,500 older adults in 2001 and 2004. Participants were asked in 2001 about financial strain, church-based social support, and a range of private and public religious practices. Mortality status was determined at the follow-up interview in 2004.
Results: The findings indicated that providing social support to fellow church members reduced the effects of support providers' own financial problems on mortality. In contrast, the data suggested that receiving support from people at church did not have the same stress-buffering effect.
Discussion: Finding ways to help older adults become more involved in providing support to others at church may form the basis for developing interventions aimed at improving their quality of life.