An Age-Period-Cohort Analysis of Religious Involvement and Adult Health: Results from the United States, 1972 to 2008

Li Zhang, Virginia Commonwealth University

This study conducts an age, period, cohort analysis of how religious involvement affects adult health across the life course and over time in the United States. Cross-classified random effect models are used to examine data drawn from the General Social Survey, 1972 to 2008. The research shows clear life-course patterns, time trends and birth cohort changes in the religious involvement and health relationship with period effects surpassing the cohort effects. In general, the results show a loss of advantage in health with age for those who are more involved in religion. However, a health advantage associated with a greater level of social integration is stronger among older ages. The period effects are mainly demonstrated by an overall downward trend of self-rated health when linked to religious involvement. The health disparities associated with religious denominational differences fluctuated when cohort progresses, suggesting significant cohort effects.

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Presented in Session 67: Health Behaviors, Health, and Mortality I