Church Attendance Can Add Years to Your Life
University study finds link between worship and longevity
People who go to church feel less stressed and live longer, according to a new study from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
The study involving more than 5,000 middle-aged men and women (ages 40 to 65) found that those who regularly attended church or other religious services were 55 percent less likely to die prematurely. Attendees also showed significantly lower levels of stress, as measured by established medical standards, including cardiovascular, inflammatory and metabolic markers.
The longevity advantage for attendees remained even after accounting for other possible contributing factors, such as poverty, education, insurance and social support status. Researchers concluded that even the additional social support some people receive in church cannot fully explain the results.
“We found that being in a place where you can flex those spiritual muscles actually is beneficial for your health,” said Marino Bruce, a social and behavior scientist and the study’s main author.Bruce said researchers will next consider how feelings of compassion and holiness in attendees may contribute to longer lives.