Cross-National Variations in the Correlation between Frequency of Prayer and Health Outcomes among the 50+ in Europe

Barbara Schaan, University of Mannheim
Karsten Hank, University of Mannheim

We investigate 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. A major issue addressed here is whether the strength and/or the direction of the proposed individual-level relationship between prayer and health outcomes vary across the diverse ‘religious regimes’ in Europe. Using data from the 2004 ‘Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe’, we estimate pooled and regional multivariate logistic regression models. Our results suggest that private religious involvement among the population aged 50 or older is negatively correlated with subjective well-being and mental health, whereas no significant association with the prevalence of chronic conditions or functional limitations is found. We do not detect systematic cross-national variations in the prayer-health nexus within continental Europe.

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Presented in Poster Session 4