Crossroads is the Newsletter of the Center for Spirituality, Theology & Health at Duke University. The November, 2013 issue was just released. In this issue, six research studies were highlighted and summarized. The one that most interested me was a study about the value of social connectedness.
Social Isolation and Mortality. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, University of California at San Francisco, and Stanford University analyzed 14-year follow-up data on 16,849 adults collected as part of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HANES-III).
Results of the Study – Among the results of the study, the researchers found that “Of all indicators of social isolation in both men and women, infrequent religious attendance was the strongest predictor of mortality.”
Church Attendance and Mortality. The staff at Duke’s Center make this comment: “This is a very important study because it compares the effect of religious attendance on mortality with other traditional risk factors, and it does so in arguably the most well known longitudinal study of health in the U.S. (the HANES-III). Among men, religious attendance was a stronger predict or of mortality than race, education, obesity, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. Among women, religious attendance had a similar effect as race and a stronger effect than education, income, obesity, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. In both genders, no other social factor – including marital status – had as strong an effect as religious attendance on mortality.”
Attend Church and Be Connected to Other Believers are two Biblical Principles for a Healthier Life that we address in the PathWay 2 Wholeness program. We are all wired with a desire and a need to be in relationships with others. When we live out God’s second great commandment – love others as you love yourself, we are putting into practice what God designed us for – relationships with one another.
Related Questions to Reflect On
Are you well connected? Do you attend church frequently? Do you have a small group of believers that you are in community with?