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The Nonreligious: Understanding Secular People and Societies.


Main article: Impacts of religion on health

Mayo Clinic researchers examined the association between religious involvement and spirituality, and physical health, mental health, health-related quality of life, and other health outcomes. The authors reported that: “Most studies have shown that religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better health outcomes, including greater longevity, coping skills, and health-related quality of life (even during terminal illness) and less anxiety, depression, and suicide.”[155]

The authors of a subsequent study concluded that the influence of religion on health is largely beneficial, based on a review of related literature.[156] According to academic James W. Jones, several studies have discovered “positive correlations between religious belief and practice and mental and physical health and longevity.” [157]

An analysis of data from the 1998 US General Social Survey, whilst broadly confirming that religious activity was associated with better health and well-being, also suggested that the role of different dimensions of spirituality/religiosity in health is rather more complicated. The results suggested “that it may not be appropriate to generalize findings about the relationship between spirituality/religiosity and health from one form of spirituality/religiosity to another, across denominations, or to assume effects are uniform for men and women.[15