The purpose of this study is to see whether involvement in religion is associated with loneliness and health. A theoretical model is developed to explain how the potentially beneficial effects of religiousness arise. The following core hypotheses are embedded in this conceptual scheme: (a) people who attend worship services more often are more likely to receive informal spiritual support from fellow church members (spiritual support is assistance which is provided in order to bolster the religious beliefs and behaviors of the recipient); (b) spiritual support from coreligionists encourages people to adopt the virtue of humility; (c) people who are more humble are more likely to receive emotional support from significant others; (d) individuals who receive more emotional support will feel less lonely; and (e) people who feel less lonely tend to enjoy better health. Data from a recent nationwide survey provide support for each of these hypotheses.
MagazinerJ.BassettS. S.HebelJ. R.Cruber-BaldiniA.Use of proxies to measure health and functional status in epidemiologic studies of community dwelling women age 65 years and olderAmerican Journal of Epidemiology1996143283290
RowattW. C.OttenbreitA.NesselroadeK. P.CunninghamP. A.On being holier than thou or humbler than thee: A social psychological perspective on religiousness and humilityJournal for the Scientific Study of Religion200241227237