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Attending religious services lessens depression and raises spirits


According to new data, people who regularly go to religious services are 56% more likely to view life positively and 27% less likely to be depressed. Researchers from Yeshiva University also found that people who attend services every week tend to be less cynical.

Researchers pulled their data from the Women’s Health Initiative, an observational study of over 92,000 post-menopausal women. They came from a wide range of backgrounds, economic conditions, ethnic backgrounds and religions.

“We looked at a number of psychological factors; optimism, depression, cynical hostility, and a number of subcategories and subscales involving social support and social strain. The link between religious activity and health is most evident in women, specifically older women,” said the report author Eliezer Schnall. Researchers found some other things which contributed to the happier outlook and healthier disposition: the ability to sit with the woman’s religious leader to talk about her life, being taken to the doctor by a supporting friend or family member, and affectionate support as well as positive interaction between her parishioners.

When they examined potential or typical social strains related to the attendance at religious services, they found few. They looked for disapproval by parishioner for inter-faith friendships, religion as a source of strain in marriage, and disagreements about spirituality among family members. It wasn’t there.

“We looked at the religious practices of nearly 100,000 women and – like it or not – found a strong connection between going to church or synagogue or any other house of worship and a positive outlook on life.” Concluded Schnall.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Journal of Religion and Health

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