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.
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