Abstract

This study investigates the relationships among religious attendance, mortality, and the black-white mortality crossover. We build on prior research by examining the link between attendance and mortality while testing whether religious involvement captures an important source of population heterogeneity that contributes to a crossover. Using data from the Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly, we find a strong negative association between attendance and mortality. Our results also show evidence of a racial crossover in mortality rates for both men and women. When religious attendance is modeled in terms of differential frailty, clear gender differences emerge. For women, the effect of attendance is race- and age-dependent, modifying the age at crossover by 10 years. For men, however, the effect of attendance is not related to race and does not alter the crossover pattern. When other health risks are modeled in terms of differential frailty, we find neither race nor age-related effects. Overall, the results highlight the importance of considering religious attendance when examining racial and gender differences in age-specific mortality rates.

This content is only available as a PDF.

References

Allison, P.D. (
1984
).
Event History Analysis: Regression for Longitudinal Event Data
.
Beverly Hills, CA
:
Sage Publications
.
Blank, M.B., Mahmood, M., Fox, J.C., & Guterbock, T. (
2002
).
Alternative Mental Health Services: The Role of the Black Church in the South
.
American Journal of Public Health
,
92
,
1668
72
. 10.2105/AJPH.92.10.1668
Bryant, S., & Rakowski, W. (
1992
).
Predictors of Mortality Among Elderly African-Americans
.
Research on Aging
,
14
,
50
67
. 10.1177/0164027592141003
Chang, B., Noonan, A.E., & Tennstedt, S.L. (
1998
).
The Role of Religion/Spirituality in Coping With Caregiving for Disabled Elders
.
The Gerontologist
,
38
,
463
70
.
Coale, A.J., & Kisker, E.E. (
1986
).
Mortality Crossovers: Reality or Bad Data?
.
Population Studies
,
40
,
389
401
. 10.1080/0032472031000142316
Comstock, G.W., & Partridge, K.B. (
1972
).
Church Attendance and Health
.
Journal of Chronic Disease
,
25
,
665
72
. 10.1016/0021-9681(72)90002-1
Cornoni-Huntley, J., Ostfeld, A.M., Taylor, J.O., Wallace, R.B., Blazer, D., Berkman, L.F., Evans, D.A., Kohout, F.J., Lemke, J.H., Scherr, P.A., & Korper, S.P. (
1993
).
Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly—Study Design and Methodology
.
Aging-Clinical and Experimental Research
,
5
(
1
),
27
37
.
Cornwall, M. (
1989
).
On Determinants of Religious Behavior: A Theoretical Model and Empirical Test
.
Social Forces
,
68
,
572
92
. 10.2307/2579261
Corti, M., Gurlanik, J.M., Ferrucci, L., Izmirlian, G., Leveille, S.G., Pahor, M., Cohen, H.G., Pieper, C., & Havlik, R.J. (
1999
).
Evidence for a Black-White Crossover in All-Cause and Coronary Heart Disease Mortality in an Older Population: The North Carolina EPESE
.
American Journal of Public Health
,
89
,
308
14
. 10.2105/AJPH.89.3.308
Ellison, C.G., & George, L.K. (
1994
).
Religious Involvement, Social Ties, and Social Support in a Southeastern Community
.
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
,
33
(
1
),
46
61
. 10.2307/1386636
Ellison, C.G., Hummer, R.A., Cormier, S., & Rogers, R.G. (
2000
).
Religious Involvement and Mortality Risk Among African American Adults
.
Research on Aging
,
22
,
630
67
. 10.1177/0164027500226003
Elo, I.T., & Preston, S.H. (
1994
).
Estimating African-American Mortality From Inaccurate Data
.
Demography
,
31
,
427
58
. 10.2307/2061751
George, L.K., Ellison, C.G., & Larson, D.B. (
2002
).
Examining the Relationship Between Religious Involvement and Health
.
Psychological Inquiry
,
13
,
190
200
. 10.1207/S15327965PLI1303_04
George, L.K., Larson, D.B., Koenig, H.G., & McCullough, M.E. (
2000
).
Spirituality and Health: What We Know, What We Need to Know
.
Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology
,
19
,
102
16
. 10.1521/jscp.2000.19.1.102
Hayes, J.C., Meador, K.G., Branch, P.S., & George, L.K. (
2001
).
The Spiritual History Scale in Four Dimensions (SHS-4): Validity and Reliability
.
The Gerontologist
,
41
,
239
49
.
Helm, H.M., Hays, J.C., Flint, E.P., Koenig, H.G., & Blazer, D.G. (
2000
).
Does Private Religious Activity Prolong Survival? A Six-Year Follow-up Study of 3,851 Older Adults.
.
Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences
,
55A
,
400
405
.
Hill, M.E., Preston, S.H., & Rosenwaike, I. (
2000
).
Age Reporting Among White Americans Aged 85+: Results of a Record Linkage Study
.
Demography
,
37
,
175
86
. 10.2307/2648119
Hummer, R.A., Rogers, R.G., Nam, C.B., & Ellison, C.G. (
1999
).
Religious Involvement and U.S. Adult Mortality
.
Demography
,
36
,
273
85
. 10.2307/2648114
Idler, E.L., & Kasl, S.V. (
1992
).
Religion, Disability, Depression, and the Timing of Death
.
American Journal of Sociology
,
97
,
1052
79
. 10.1086/229861
Idler, E.L. (
1997
).
Religion Among Disabled and Nondisabled Persons I: Cross-Sectional Patterns in Health Practices, Social Activities, and Well-being
.
Journals in Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
,
52
,
294
305
.
Jarvis, G.K., & Northcott, H.C. (
1987
).
Religion and Differences in Morbidity and Mortality
.
Social Science and Medicine
,
25
,
813
24
. 10.1016/0277-9536(87)90039-6
Johnson, N.E. (
2000
).
The Racial Crossover in Comorbidity, Disability, and Mortality
.
Demography
,
37
,
267
83
. 10.2307/2648041
Kitigawa, E.M., & Hauser, P.M. (
1973
).
Differential Mortality in the United States: A Study of Socioeconomic Epidemiology
.
Cambridge, MA
:
Harvard University Press
.
Koenig, H.G., George, L.K., & Siegler, I.C. (
1988
).
The Use of Religion and Other Emotion-Regulating Coping Strategies Among Older Adults
.
Gerontologist
,
28
,
303
10
.
Koenig, H.G., Hays, J.C., Larson, D.B., George, L.K., Cohen, H.J., McCullough, M.E., & Blazer, D.G. (
1999
).
Does Religious Attendance Prolong Survival? A Six-Year Follow-Up Study of 3,968 Older Adults
.
Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences
,
54A
,
370
76
. 10.1093/gerona/54.7.M370
Krause, N. (
2003
).
Religious Meaning and Subjective Well-being in Late Life
.
Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences
,
58B
(
3
),
160
70
.
Landerman, L.R., Land, K.C., & Pieper, C.F. (
1997
).
An Empirical Evaluation of the Predictive Mean Matching Method for Imputing Missing Values
.
Sociological Methods and Research
,
26
,
3
33
. 10.1177/0049124197026001001
Landi, F., Zuccala, G., Gambassi, G., Incalzi, R.A., Manigrasso, L., Pagano, F., Carbonin, P., & Bernabei, R. (
1999
).
Body Mass Index and Mortality Among Older People Living in the Community
.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
,
47
,
1072
76
.
Levin, J.S. (
1984
).
The Role of the Black Church in Community Medicine
.
Journal of the National Medical Association
,
76
,
477
83
.
Levin, J.S. (
1994
).
Religion and Health: Is There an Association, Is It Valid, and Is It Causal?
.
Social Science and Medicine
,
38
,
1475
82
. 10.1016/0277-9536(94)90109-0
Levin, J.S., Chatters, L.M., & Taylor, R.J. (
1995
).
Religious Effects on Health Status and Life Satisfaction Among Black Americans
.
Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences
,
50
,
154
63
.
Levin, J.S., & Taylor, R.J. (
1993
).
Gender and Age Differences in Religiosity Among Black Americans
.
The Gerontologist
,
33
,
16
23
.
Levin, J.S., Taylor, R.J., & Chatters, L.M. (
1994
).
Race and Gender Differences in Religiosity Among Older Adults: Findings From Four National Surveys
.
Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences
,
49
,
137
45
.
Liu, X., & Witten, M. (
1995
).
A Biologically Based Explanation for Mortality Crossover in Human Populations
.
The Gerontologist
,
35
,
609
15
.
Lynch, S.M., Brown, J.S., & Harmsen, K.G. (
2003
).
Black-White Differences in Mortality Compression and Deceleration and the Mortality Crossover Reconsidered
.
Research on Aging
,
25
,
456
83
. 10.1177/0164027503254675
Manton, K.G., Poss, S.S., & Wing, S. (
1979
).
The Black/White Mortality Crossover: Investigation From the Perspective of the Components of Aging
.
The Gerontologist
,
19
,
291
300
.
Mason, K.O., & Cope, L.G. (
1987
).
Sources of Age and Date-of-Birth Misreporting in the U.S. Census
.
Demography
,
24
,
563
73
. 10.2307/2061392
McCullough, M.E., Hoyt, W.T., Larson, D.B., Koenig, H.G., & Thoresen, C. (
2000
).
Religious Involvement and Mortality: A Meta-Analytic Review
.
Health Psychology
,
19
,
211
22
. 10.1037/0278-6133.19.3.211
Mullen, K. (
1990
).
Religion and Health: A Review of the Literature
.
International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
,
10
,
85
96
. 10.1108/eb013088
Musick, M., House, J., & Williams, D. (
2004
).
Attendance at Religious Services and Mortality in a National Sample
.
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
,
45
,
198
213
. 10.1177/002214650404500206
Musick, M.A., Koenig, H.G., Hays, J.C., & Cohen, H.J. (
1998
).
Religious Activity and Depression Among Community-Dwelling Elderly Persons With Cancer: The Moderating Effect of Race
.
Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences
,
53B
,
218
27
.
Nam, C.B., Weatherby, N.L., & Ockay, K.A. (
1978
).
Causes of Death Which Contribute to the Mortality Crossover Effect
.
Social Biology
,
25
,
306
14
.
Health, United States
. (
2003
).
Hayattsville, MD
:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
.
Oman, D., & Reed, D. (
1998
).
Religion and Mortality Among the Community-Dwelling Elderly
.
American Journal of Public Health
,
88
,
1469
75
. 10.2105/AJPH.88.10.1469
Preston, S.H., Elo, I.T., Rosenwaike, I., & Hill, M. (
1996
).
African-American Mortality at Older Ages: Results of a Matching Study
.
Demography
,
33
,
193
209
. 10.2307/2061872
Preston, S.H., Elo, I.T., & Stewart, Q. (
1999
).
Effects of Age Misreporting on Mortality Estimates at Older Ages
.
Population Studies
,
53
,
165
77
. 10.1080/00324720308075
Rogers, R.G. (
1992
).
Living and Dying in the U.S.A.: Sociodemographic Determinants of Death Among Blacks and Whites
.
Demography
,
29
,
287
303
. 10.2307/2061732
Roof, W.C., & McKinney, W. (
1987
).
American Mainline Religion: Its Changing Shape and Future
.
New Brunswick, NJ
:
Rutgers University Press
.
Smit, J.H., Deeg, D.J.H., & Schmand, B.A. (
1997
).
Asking the Age Question in Elderly Populations: A Reverse Record Check Study
.
Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences
,
52B
(
4
),
175
77
.
StataCorp, (
2003
).
Stata Statistical Software: Release 8.0
.
College Station, TX
:
StataCorp LP
.
Strawbridge, W.J., Cohen, R.D., & Shema, S.J. (
2000
).
Comparative Strength of Association Between Religious Attendance and Survival
.
International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine
,
30
,
299
308
.
Strawbridge, W.J., Cohen, R.D., Shema, S.J., & Kaplan, G.A. (
1997
).
Frequent Attendance at Religious Services and Mortality Over 28 Years
.
American Journal of Public Health
,
87
,
957
61
. 10.2105/AJPH.87.6.957
Taylor, D.H., & Ostbye, T. (
2001
).
The Effect of Middle- and Old-Age Body Mass Index on Short-Term Mortality in Older People
.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
,
49
,
1319
26
. 10.1046/j.1532-5415.2001.49259.x
Taylor, R.J., Chatters, L.M., & Levin, J. (
2004
).
Religion in the Lives of African Americans: Social, Psychological, and Health Perspectives
.
Thousand Oaks, CA
:
Sage Publications
.
Thornton, R.G., & Nam, C.B. (
1968
).
The Lower Mortality Rates of Nonwhites at the Older Ages: An Enigma in Demographic Analysis
.
Research Reports in Social Science
,
11
,
1
8
.
Vaupel, J.W., Manton, K.G., & Stallard, E. (
1979
).
The Impact of Heterogeneity in Individual Frailty on the Dynamics of Mortality
.
Demography
,
16
,
439
54
. 10.2307/2061224
Vaux, K. (
1976
).
Religion and Health
.
Preventive Medicine
,
5
,
522
36
. 10.1016/0091-7435(76)90029-3
Wing, S., Manton, K.G., Stallard, E., Hames, C.G., & Troyler, H.A. (
1985
).
The Black/White Mortality Crossover: Investigation in a Community-Based Study
.
Journal of Gerontology
,
40
,
78
84
.