A longitudinal study of religiosity and mortality risk

J Health Psychol. 1999 May;4(3):381-91. doi: 10.1177/135910539900400307.


The relation of adult religiosity to longevity was studied in 993 participants from Terman's 70-year Life-Cycle Study. Key social and behavioral variables of physical health, psychological well-being, socioeconomic status, social support, and health behaviors were also considered. Results indicate that women who viewed themselves as more religious in adulthood (approximately age 40) had a lower risk for premature mortality than those who were less religiously inclined. These women had healthier behaviors, more positive feelings about their futures, and reported being somewhat happier than their less religiously inclined peers. In this bright, middle-class, 20th century sample, religiosity among women seems to be part of a generally healthy lifestyle, but not necessarily a direct cause of it.