Is Church Good for You?

Article by Rebecca McLaughlin
Guest Contributor

“If one could conceive of a single elixir to improve the physical and mental health of millions of Americans — at no personal cost,” wrote Harvard professor Tyler VanderWeele and journalist John Siniff in a USA Today OpEd, “what value would our society place on it?”

The article goes on to summarize an extensive body of research showing that religious participation correlates with multiple measures of mental and physical health: those who attend services have lower rates of depression, are more optimistic, are less likely to commit suicide, and are 20% to 30% less likely to die over a fifteen-year period. Flip this data on its head, and declining church attendance in the US could be termed a public health crisis.
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