Assessing the Relationships Among Religiousness, Loneliness, and Health

In: Archive for the Psychology of Religion
Neal Krause Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan 1420 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, mi 48109-2029 USA (734) 763-7379 (734) 763-5583

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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.

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