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The Significance of Religion on Health Factors Related to Aging Among American Adults Using the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States

Jozwiak, Jeffrey L. (2008) The Significance of Religion on Health Factors Related to Aging Among American Adults Using the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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There is a substantial body of evidence that demonstrates an association between religiosity and health outcomes in adults of all ages. Many studies have demonstrated that factors such as religious importance and service attendance may provide social vehicles for factors such as increased access to health care, better management of chronic diseases, and increased availability to preventive health services and education. These religious factors may also influence the way in which a person perceives and copes with his or her health issues. Successful aging theory is a combination of three factors or characteristics: low risk of disease and disease-related disability, high mental and physical function, and active engagement with life. This theory allows for a more holistic approach to aging and health. The overall goal of this observational study using quantitative data from the 1994/95 National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS) was to analyze whether any statistically significant relationships exist between religiosity defined as religious devotion, importance, influence, and service attendance and the three factors of successful aging. The results demonstrated significant relationships between all religiosity variables and active engagement in life. Other statistically significant findings were discovered with the factors: self physical and mental health rating, times in the hospital, routine visits to the doctor, and certain religiosity variables. Many of the findings still existed when analyzed across demographic co-variants. Finally, the use of a theoretical model and logistic regression demonstrated that active engagement in life may be a bridge variable between successful aging health outcomes and service attendance. The results don't show more religion means healthier, but that religion can play an intricate role in an individual's own health. The public health relevance of the study is to make public health professionals aware of the relationships that exist between religiosity and successful aging health outcomes. Religious venues may provide a good resource for preventive health services and education. Most importantly, a person's religious beliefs may affect the way a person deals with physical or mental illness. Public health professionals should embrace the religious beliefs of patients regardless of their own beliefs.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Jozwiak, Jeffrey
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSharma, Ravi Krks1946@pitt.eduRKS1946
Committee MemberErlen, Jonathonerlen@pitt.eduERLEN
Committee MemberJaros, Kenneth Jkjaros@pitt.eduKJAROS
Committee MemberWatzlaf, Valerie J. Mvalgeo@pitt.eduVALGEO
Date: 31 January 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 30 August 2007
Approval Date: 31 January 2008
Submission Date: 7 December 2007
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: DrPH - Doctor of Public Health
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: aging; health behaviors; religion
Other ID:, etd-12072007-111103
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:08
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:53


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