Regular attendance at religious services is associated with a more optimistic outlook and a lesser inclination to be depressed, compared to those who do not attend services at all, according to a recently published study.
The study’s findings supports previous research that religious participation can promote psychological and physical health — and reduce mortality risks — possibly by calming people in stressful times, creating meaningful social interactions and helping curtail bad habits.
Those who said they attended services more than once a week in the previous month were 56 percent more likely to be above the median score in a measure of optimism than those who did not attend services, according to the study published in the Journal of Religion and Health.
And those who reported attending services weekly were 22 percent less likely to be depressed or have depressive symptoms compared to non-attenders.
But a researcher on the study cautioned against people assuming that adopting a religion and heading off to a church, synagogue, temple or mosque would brighten their lives.