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01.12.2014 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 6/2014

Journal of Religion and Health 6/2014

Attending Religious Services and Its Relationship with Coronary Heart Disease and Related Risk Factors in Older Adults: A Qualitative Study of Church Pastors’ and Parishioners’ Perspectives

Journal of Religion and Health > Ausgabe 6/2014
Ananya Tina Banerjee, Patricia H. Strachan, Michael H. Boyle, Sonia S. Anand, Mark Oremus


A qualitative study was undertaken to explain findings of a cross-sectional study of Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) 4.1 data showing older persons who attend religious services more than once a week, compared to persons who do not attend at all, have lower prevalences of coronary heart disease (CHD), diabetes and high blood pressure. Twelve semi-structured interviews with ordained pastors and three focus groups with older parishioners from Canadian churches were conducted. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed for emergent themes through a process of direct content analysis. All participants claimed that religious service attendance (RSA): (1) enhances mental health; (2) provides social support and activities; and (3) promotes health and lifestyle behaviours that lower CHD risk. These three themes appear to be underlying mechanisms that help to explain the inverse association between RSA and the prevalence of adverse health outcomes found in the CCHS 4.1 data.

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