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Religiosity and mental wellbeing among members of majority and minority religions: findings from Understanding Society, The UK Household Longitudinal Study

Aksoy, Ozan and Bann, David and Fluharty, Meg E and Nandi, Alita (2022) 'Religiosity and mental wellbeing among members of majority and minority religions: findings from Understanding Society, The UK Household Longitudinal Study.' American Journal of Epidemiology, 191 (1). pp. 20-30. ISSN 0002-9262

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Abstract

It is unclear if links between religiosity and mental health are found in contexts outside the US or are causal. We examined differences in mental wellbeing and associations between mental wellbeing and religiosity among the religiously unaffiliated, white and non-white Christians, Muslims of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and other ethnicities, and other minority ethnoreligious groups. We used four waves of Understanding Society, a UK longitudinal household panel (2009–2013, N=50922). We adjusted for potential confounders (including socioeconomic factors and personality) and for household fixed effects to account for household level unobserved confounding factors. Compared with those with no religious affiliation, Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims and members of other minority religions had worse wellbeing (as measured by Shortened Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (SWEMWBS) and General Health Questionnaire (GHQ)). Higher subjective importance of religion was associated with lower wellbeing according to GHQ; associations were not found with SWEMWBS. More frequent religious service attendance was associated with higher wellbeing; effect sizes were larger for those with religious affiliations. These associations were only partially attenuated by adjustment for potential confounding factors including household fixed effects. Religious service attendance and/or its secular alternatives may have a role in improving population-wide mental wellbeing.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: mental health; mental wellbeing; religiosity; religious affiliation
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Institute for Social and Economic Research
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2021 10:19
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 12:26
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/30410

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