Religious people live four years longer than atheists study finds

Henrietta Strickland
June 16, 2018

It found that "religious people lived 9.45 years longer than their atheist peers - but that shrunk to 6.48 years when they took gender and marital status into account", according to the report.

People who are religious live an average of four years longer than those who have no ties to religion, a study published Wednesday in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Previously, studies have proved people who volunteer or build social networks among people often live longer but now the study has also proved people with religious affiliations often live longer.

Laura Wallace, the study's lead author, said: 'Religious affiliation had almost as strong an effect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life'.

The study was conducted by a team of Ohio University academics, including associate professor of psychology Dr Christian End. So, the researchers noted that more research is required to look at the role those factors play in the relationship between religion and longevity, adding that these findings are preliminary and need to be replicated in other studies.

More than 1,000 obituaries from newspapers in 42 states were analysed.

The researchers combined data from both studies to see if the volunteer and social opportunities that religious groups offer might explain the longevity boost. Researchers at Ohio State University analyzed 1,000 obituaries published across the United States since 2011 and found a correlation between faith and longevity.

"There's still a lot of the benefit of religious affiliation that this can't explain", she said.

Way noted that the rules and norms of many religions restrict unhealthy practices such as alcohol and drug use, and promiscuity.

Another factor is whether a person's community is religious. But in cities that were not too concerned about making everyone conform, non-religious people lived as long as religious people did.

The researchers acknowledged their study was limited by the fact it could not control race and lifestyle choices, which are important factors for longevity.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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