Religious and spiritual involvement among older african americans, Caribbean blacks, and non-Hispanic whites: findings from the national survey of american life

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2007 Jul;62(4):S238-50. doi: 10.1093/geronb/62.4.s238.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine similarities and differences in religious involvement among three groups of older adults-African Americans, Caribbean Blacks, and non-Hispanic Whites.

Methods: We used data from the National Survey of American Life, a nationally representative household study of African Americans and Caribbean Blacks with a national sample of non-Hispanic Whites who reside in areas (census tracks and block groups) at least 10% African American. We examined demographic correlates of 16 measures of organizational, nonorganizational, subjective religiosity, as well as religious coping and spirituality.

Results: The findings indicated that older African Americans and Caribbean Blacks reported higher levels of religious participation, religious coping, and spirituality than older Whites. We observed few significant differences between older African Americans and older Caribbean Blacks. Gender, age, marital status, income, education, marital status, and region all exhibited significant influences on religious participation and spirituality.

Discussion: Racial groups within the older population present distinctive profiles of religious participation and spirituality. The demographic correlates of religious involvement and spirituality are consistent across a variety of diverse dimensions and measures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / psychology*
  • African Continental Ancestry Group / psychology*
  • Age Factors*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caribbean Region / ethnology
  • Education
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • Religion*
  • Sex Factors
  • Spirituality*
  • United States