How Religion Could Literally Save Your Life

“She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her, and happy is every one that holdest her fast.” Proverbs 3:18 (The Israel Bible™)

A recent US study suggests that attending religious services at least once a week could provide spiritual and social protection against inclinations towards suicide.

Participants of the Nurses’ Health Study were recruited beginning in 1976, when they were 30 to 55 years old. Every two years, they were given lifestyle questionnaires to answer. The team chose to focus their research on the group during the period of 1996 through 2010.

Of the 89,708 female nurses who were studied in that time frame, the women who acknowledged they attended religious services on a regular basis showed a five-fold lower risk of committing suicide, compared with those who didn’t go at all.

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Upon further analyzing the study’s data, researchers discovered variations existed among those of differing religious affiliation. Explained lead author Tyler J. VanderWeele “Protestant women who attended services once or more per week were approximately 3 times less likely to subsequently commit suicide, whereas Catholic women who attended services once or more per week were about 20 times less likely to commit suicide.”

“These are very large effect estimates,” affirmed VanderWeele, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

The majority of the study’s participants, who described themselves as having a particular religious affiliation, typically associated as Protestant or Catholic. Some 2,000 others identified as Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu or “other”.