Abide with me: religious group identification among older adults promotes health and well-being by maintaining multiple group memberships

Ysseldyk, Renate, Haslam, S. Alexander and Haslam, Catherine (2013) Abide with me: religious group identification among older adults promotes health and well-being by maintaining multiple group memberships. Aging and Mental Health, 17 7: 869-879. doi:10.1080/13607863.2013.799120


Author Ysseldyk, Renate
Haslam, S. Alexander
Haslam, Catherine
Title Abide with me: religious group identification among older adults promotes health and well-being by maintaining multiple group memberships
Journal name Aging and Mental Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1360-7863
1364-6915
Publication date 2013-09-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/13607863.2013.799120
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 17
Issue 7
Start page 869
End page 879
Total pages 11
Place of publication Routledge
Publisher Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objectives: Aging is associated with deterioration in health and well-being, but previous research suggests that this can be attenuated by maintaining group memberships and the valued social identities associated with them. In this regard, religious identification may be especially beneficial in helping individuals withstand the challenges of aging, partly because religious identity serves as a basis for a wider social network of other group memberships. This paper aims to examine relationships between religion (identification and group membership) and well-being among older adults. The contribution of having and maintaining multiple group memberships in mediating these relationships is assessed, and also compared to patterns associated with other group memberships (social and exercise).

Method: Study 1 (N = 42) surveyed older adults living in residential care homes in Canada, who completed measures of religious identity, other group memberships, and depression. Study 2 (N = 7021) longitudinally assessed older adults in the UK on similar measures, but with the addition of perceived physical health.

Results: In Study 1, religious identification was associated with fewer depressive symptoms, and membership in multiple groups mediated that relationship. However, no relationships between social or exercise groups and mental health were evident. Study 2 replicated these patterns, but additionally, maintaining multiple group memberships over time partially mediated the relationship between religious group membership and physical health.

Conclusion: Together these findings suggest that religious social networks are an especially valuable source of social capital among older adults, supporting well-being directly and by promoting additional group memberships (including those that are non-religious).
Keyword Aging
Health
Religion
Social identity
Well-being
Perceived collective continuity
Social identity
Later life
Interventions
Adjustment
Working
People
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
 
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