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Melvin Stephens, Estimating Program Benefits

Neal Krause photo

Church-Based Volunteering, Providing Informal Support at Church, and Self-Rated Health in Late Life

Publication Abstract

Krause, Neal. 2009. "Church-Based Volunteering, Providing Informal Support at Church, and Self-Rated Health in Late Life." Journal of Aging and Health, 21(1): 63-84.

Objective: To assess the relationships among volunteer work at church, providing informal support to fellow church members, religious commitment, and change in self-rated health over time. Method: Data are obtained from a nationwide longitudinal sample of 681 older adults. The study participants are aged 66 years or older at the baseline interview. The between-round interval was 6 years. Results: The findings suggest that providing informal tangible support to fellow church members is associated with better health but only for study participants who were more deeply committed to their faith. In contrast, a comparable interaction effect between volunteer work at church and religious commitment do not emerge from the data. Discussion: Although older people may assist others in different ways within the church, the informal assistance they provide to coreligionists appears to be more strongly associated with health when they are more deeply committed to their faith.

DOI:10.1177/0898264308328638 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC2844660. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States of America.

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