Religion, suffering, and self-rated health among older Mexican Americans

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2011 Mar;66(2):207-16. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbq086. Epub 2010 Nov 12.


Objectives: The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between religiously based beliefs about suffering and health among older Mexicans.

Methods: A nationwide survey of older Mexican Americans was conducted (N=1,005). Questions were administered to assess beliefs about finding positive outcomes in suffering, the benefits of suffering in silence, other dimensions of religion, and health.

Results: The findings suggest that older Mexican Americans who use their faith to find something positive in the face of suffering tend to rate their health more favorably. In contrast, older Mexican Americans who believe that it is important to suffer in silence tend to rate their health less favorably.

Discussion: Moving beyond measures of church attendance to explore culturally relevant beliefs about suffering provides important insight into the relationship between religion and health among older Mexican Americans.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Catholicism / psychology*
  • Culture*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans / psychology*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motivation
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Resilience, Psychological
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*