Cross-National Variations in the Correlation between Frequency of Prayer and Health among Older Europeans
This research investigates the relationship between private religious involvement, measured by the individual’s frequency of prayer, and various dimensions of older adults’ physical and mental health in nine European countries. Using data from the 2004 ‘Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe’ (SHARE), we estimate pooled and regional multivariate logistic regression models for four dependent variables: self-perceived general health, general physical health, functional limitations, and mental health. Our results suggest that private religious involvement among the population aged 50 or older is negatively correlated with all four health outcomes in the analysis. Moreover, we detect only minor cross-national variations in the prayer-health nexus within continental Europe. Although the cross-sectional nature of our data prohibits any statements about possible causal relationships underlying the observed correlations, the evidence presented here suggests that religion should be considered as a potentially relevant factor in future studies of older European’s health.
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