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.


Funded By:

Linking Spirituality and Religiosity to Life and Health Expectancy: A Global Comparative Study was funded by John Templeton Foundation from 2016-2016.

Religion, spirituality, physical and psychological well-being in Muslims: Exploring associations within new and unique Pakistani contexts is an internal Mount Saint Vincent University SSHRC Explore Grant which runs from July 2020 – March 2022.

Publications and Works in Progress:

Click HERE for Spirituality and Religiosity Publications

Selected Highlighted Publications:

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.

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