English title: Religious Behavior, Health, and Well-Being Among Israeli Jews: Findings From the European Social Survey

Author(s): Jeff Levin -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2013

Abstract

This study investigates the relationship between religious behavior and health status and psychological well-being in a population sample of Israeli Jewish adults (N = 1,849). Using data from the Israeli sample of the European Social Survey, measures of synagogue attendance and private prayer were examined in relation to single-item indicators of subjective and functional health, happiness, and life satisfaction and to a three-item scale tapping into the somatic dimension of well-being. Bivariately, the religious, health,and well-being measures are mostly related, and in a salutary direction, but multivariable analyses revealed that these associations are more nuanced. Specifically, after age-adjustment and controls for effects of various sociodemographic characteristics, including Israeli nativity, synagogue attendance is associated with greater happiness only, whereas prayer is associated with greater happiness and life satisfaction and higher scores on the well-being scale. Additionally, prayer is significantly associated with functional health, but in an inverse direction, suggesting its use as a coping resource in response to physical or functional challenges or impairments. These latter results are supported by supplemental analyses of the well-being indicators, which also adjust for possible exogenous or moderating effects of functional health. These findings contribute to current streams of empirical research on the putative influence of Jewish religious observance on physical and mental health and psychological well-being in Israel and the Jewish diaspora.

Volume: 5

Issue: 4

From page no: 272

To page no: 282

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1037/A0032601

Journal: Psychology of Religion and Spirituality