It’s a fact that there are several nonbelievers around the world and no one can stop them if that’s the path they chose. Religious people, though, have more healthy engagements than atheists, which is one good reason why they live a little longer, a new study says.
The study conducted by the Ohio State psychology researchers, which is based on the analysis of 1,000 obituaries published across the United States in 2011, suggests that religious people or those who go to church regularly can live four years longer than atheists. This is because church-goers regularly participate in social activities and engage themselves in volunteer organizations.
Socialization adds up to a year of lifespan and other elements can also play a vital role to longevity.
According to the doctoral student in psychology and study lead author Laura Wallace, there are still a lot of elements that contribute to the longevity of the religious people’s lifespan such as low alcohol intake. Associate professor of psychology at Ohio State Dr. Baldwin Way also suggested that while atheists might raise eyebrows on this study, they can’t just disregard the connection between religious affiliations and the longer lifespan of the church-goers.
“The study provides persuasive evidence that there is a relationship between religious participation and how long a person lives.”
The first phase of the study that involved 505 obituaries published in Iowa in January and February 2012 showed that the religious people actually lived 9.45 years longer compared to their atheist colleagues.
In the second study that involved 1,096 obituaries published between August 2010 and August 2011 in 42 cities in the United States, churchgoers lived 5.64 years longer than atheists.
Dr. Way also said that many religious sectors have rules and regulations that need to be followed such as living a healthy lifestyle, which often includes abstinence from alcohol, drugs, and other substances.
This also includes avoiding sexual intercourse with different partners.
He added that a lot of religions also “promote stress-reducing practices that may improve health, such as gratitude, prayer or meditation,” which contribute to a longer lifespan. However, this study can’t control the different aspects that correlate to the longevity including race and lifestyle. Laura Wallace though suggested that the findings of a lot of studies conducted did show that religion has “positive effect on health.”
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