Predictors of religious participation of older Europeans in good and poor health

Agnieszka Sowa, Stanisława Golinowska, Dorly Deeg, Andrea Principi, Georgia Casanova, Katherine Schulmann, Stephania Ilinca, Ricardo Rodrigues, Amilcar Moreira, Henrike Gelenkamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Religious attendance is an important element of activity for older Europeans, especially in more traditional countries. The aim of the analysis is to explore whether it could be an element contributing to active ageing as well as to assess differences between the religious activity of older individuals with and without multimorbidity defined as an occurrence of two or more illnesses. The analysis is conducted based on the SHARE database (2010–2011) covering 57,391 individuals 50+ from 16 European countries. Logistic regressions are calculated to assess predictors of religious activity. Results point that religious activity often occurs in multimorbidity what could be driven by the need for comfort and compensation from religion. It is also significantly correlated with other types of social activities: volunteering or learning, even among the population with multimorbidity. There is a positive relation between religious activity and age, although its effect is weaker in the case of multimorbidity, as well as being female. Mobility limitations are found to decrease religious participation in both morbidity groups and might be related to discontinuation of religious practices in older age. The economic situation of older individuals is an insignificant factor for religious attendance. Religious attendance can be an element of active ageing, but also a compensation and adaptation to disadvantages occurring in older age and multimorbidity. At the same time, religious activities are often provided at the community level and targeted to population in poorer health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Ageing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Mar 12 2016


  • Ageing
  • Health status
  • Morbidity
  • Older people
  • Religious participation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Health(social science)

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    Sowa, A., Golinowska, S., Deeg, D., Principi, A., Casanova, G., Schulmann, K., Ilinca, S., Rodrigues, R., Moreira, A., & Gelenkamp, H. (Accepted/In press). Predictors of religious participation of older Europeans in good and poor health. European Journal of Ageing, 1-13.