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The impact of religiosity on self- assessments of health and happiness: evidence from the US Southwest

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Using an age stratified random sample from an ongoing population-based study of Mexican Americans 45 years of age or older living in the Southwest this study fexamines the relationship between religiosity and self-rated indices of physical health, subjective health status and happiness. After estimating a set of binary logit models and controlling for individual characteristics such as age and gender, findings indicate that religiously involved respondents have a lower probability of reporting a health problem than those less or not involved. Further, those respondents who attend religious services regularly are more likely to assess themselves healthier and happier than those reporting sporadic or no attendance. However, when the religious variable is factored into six constructs, as the frequency of religious attendance increases the happiness measure initially increases to an inflection point then it continues to increase but at a slower rate. This result is consistent with the argument that those individuals who, on average, attend religious services once a week appear to reap the greatest incremental rewards in terms of assessments of subjective health and overall happiness.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Center on Aging and Health The University of Texas-Pan American 1201 West University Drive Edinburg TX 78539-2999 USA 2: Department of Economics and Finance College of Business Administration Edinburg TX 78539-2999 USA

Publication date: 2004-04-01

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