This stream examines the connections between religiosity, spirituality and health, worldwide, among populations of older persons.  We examine issues such as whether religion is implicated as a determinant of health among older persons consistently across countries, which mechanisms are mediators of the relationship, and what variables moderate associations between religiosity, spirituality and health.  The topic is of particular importance now that older persons are constituting a larger proportion of populations around the world and gains in life expectancy at old age are being experienced everywhere.  External factors such as better diagnosis and treatment undoubtedly contribute to healthy aging at these advanced ages, but there is growing evidence that factors internal to the individual, including religiosity and spirituality, are equally influential.  Moreover, while religiosity and spirituality are ubiquitous globally, older persons tend to be more religious than younger.  The main thrust of our research addresses the question of whether people with deeper religious and spiritual conviction live longer, healthier lives and if so why.


Past Projects:

Linking Spirituality and Religiosity to Life and Health Expectancy: A Global Comparative Study

Current Publications:

Zimmer Z, Chiu CT, Saito Y, Jagger C, Ofstedal MB and Lin YH. 2019. Religiosity dimensions and disability-free life expectancy in Taiwan. Journal of Aging and Health. First published: April 25, 2019. doi: 10.1177/0898264319843445

Zimmer Z, Rojo F, Ofstedal MB, Chiu CT, Saito Y and Jagger C.  2019.  Religiosity and health: A global comparative study.  Social Science and Medicine: Population Health.  7(April): 1-9.

Zimmer Z, Chiu CT, Saito Y, Lin YH, Ofstedal MB and Jagger C.  2019. Does religious activity distinguish the mortality experiences of older Taiwanese? An analysis using eighteen-years of follow-up data. First online February 18, 2019. Journal of Religion and Healthdoi: 10.1007/s10943-019-00778-x

Ofstedal MB, Saito Y, Chiu CT, Jagger C and Zimmer Z. 2018. Religion, life expectancy and disability-free life expectancy among older women and men in the Unites States. The Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences. Accepted August 24, 2018.

Zimmer Z, Jagger C, Chiu CT, Ofstedal MB, Rojo F, Saito Y.  2016. Spirituality, religiosity, aging and health in global perspective: A review. Social Science and Medicine – Population Health. 2(December): 373-381. doi: 10.1016/j.ssmph.2016.04.009

Haviva C, Zimmer Z, Ofstedal MB, Jagger C, Chiu CT and Saito Y. 2018. A Project Summary: Linking Spirituality and Religiosity to Life and Health Expectancy, A Global Comparative Study

More Religiosity and Health Publications and Presentations