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16 June 2018, 08:56 | Melissa Porter
People with religious faith live longer than atheists: study
"The study provides persuasive evidence that there is a relationship between religious participation and how long a person lives", said co-author Baldwin Way, an associate professor of psychology at the university.
"We found that volunteerism and involvement in social organizations only accounted for a little less than one year of the longevity boost that religious affiliation provided", Wallace said.
People with religious affiliations may live four years longer on average compared to atheists, researchers from Ohio State University, who conducted a nationwide study of obituaries, revealed. Experts have proven that religious people live by 5.64 years longer than non-believers.
The study, however, was not able to assess lifestyle factors or stress-reducing practices based on the obituary reports.
The second study included 1,096 obituaries from 42 major cities in the USA published on newspaper websites between August 2010 and August 2011.
Want to live longer? The figure was also calculated after considering the sex and marital status of the deceased, which are two factors that strongly affect the number of years of a person's life.
They discovered that the obituaries with a religious affiliation often lived six and a half years longer than the others, even when gender and marital status were accounted for.
Way noted that the rules and norms of many religions restrict unhealthy practices such as alcohol and drug use, and promiscuity.
'There's still a lot of the benefit of religious affiliation that this can't explain'.
The study, published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal, analysed more than 1,500 obituaries from across the US.
The researchers acknowledge that there are limitations to the study, including the fact that it could not control for important factors related to longevity such as race and health behaviours.
"The positive health effects of religion spill over to the non-religious in some specific situations", Wallace said. They also found that regular Church attendance significantly reduces the likelihood that women in old age will come to premature death.
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