Krause, Neal. 2008. "The social foundation of religious meaning in life." Research on Aging, 30(4): 395-427.
The purpose of this study was to see whether informal social support from fellow church members sustains an older person's sense of religious meaning in life over time. Two types of church-based social support were evaluated: spiritual support and emotional support. Data from a nationwide longitudinal survey of older adults suggested that both emotional and spiritual support tend to sustain a sense of religious meaning in life, but of the two, spiritual support appeared to exert the greatest effect. The findings further revealed that older African Americans are more likely than older European Americans to derive a sense of meaning in life through religion. This race difference is largely explained by the fact that older African Americans tend to receive more church-based social support than older European Americans.