May 16, 2016

Study: Women who frequently attend religious services have lower risk of death

Women who regularly attend religious services more than once a week have increased longevity and a lower risk of death, a new study suggests.

JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, published a study on Monday that examined the link between attendance at religious services and mortality in American women.

Researchers assessed 74,534 women over the 10-year period from 1992 to 2012 and found that women who went to religious services more than once a week had as much as a 33 percent lower risk of dying.

All participants were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer at the beginning of the study and answered a questionnaire to report attendance at religious services.

Depressive symptoms, smoking, social support and optimism were also key factors in the study. According to CNN, the women who attended religious services regularly had higher rates of social support and optimism, lower rates of depression and were less likely to smoke.

Researchers concluded that frequent attendance was associated with the decrease in risk of mortality and that religion may be an "underappreciated resource" that physicians could explore with patients.