New York: Being closer to God not only helps you stay grounded and gives a peace of mind, it also comes with a longevity boost, according to a new study. The study done by the researchers at the Ohio State University found that people with a religious affiliation lived nearly 4 years longer, on average, than those without a religious affiliation. The research, which analysed the obituaries of more than 1,000 people across the United States, suggested that there is a link between religious attendance and life expectancy.
“Religious affiliation had nearly as strong an effect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life,” study lead author Laura Wallace, a doctoral student in psychology at The Ohio State University, said in a statement. “The study provides persuasive evidence that there is a relationship between religious participation and how long a person lives,” said co-author Baldwin Way, an associate professor of psychology at the university. Read: Five healthy habits that can extend your lifespan by more than 10 years
To come to this conclusion, the researchers also noted the person’s age, sex and marital status, religious affiliation, as well as the number of social and volunteer activities listed. After taking into account sex and marital status, results from the study showed that people with a religious affiliation lived 3.8 years longer, on average, than those without a religious affiliation.
“Lifestyle factors could also help explain the link. Many religions have rules that restrict unhealthy practices, such as alcohol and drug use, which may play a role in longevity, the researchers said. In addition, many religions promote stress-reducing practices that may improve health, such as gratitude, prayer or meditation,” said Baldwin Way.
The study, however, was not able to assess lifestyle factors or stress-reducing practices based on the obituary reports. So, the researchers noted that more research is required to look at the role those factors play in the relationship between religion and longevity, adding that these findings are preliminary and need to be replicated in other studies.