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Health and Christianity: Controlling for Omitted Variable Bias by Using the Data of Twins and Siblings

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  • HONG, DING

Abstract

To account for potential bias from heterogeneity in hereditary factors or family background, I use the within-twin and within-siblings differences to estimate the effects of Christian faith on three health outcome variables by applying fixed effect model to the data of twins and siblings from the first wave of the National Survey of Midlife in the United States (1995). Both this model and other statistical tests and model without controlling for omitted variable bias confirm significant positive health effects of religiosity of Christianity. The results also support the three explanatory mechanisms of religion on health proposed by Son and Wilson (2011): 1) behaviors and lifestyles, 2) social networks and 3) social support and psychological resources. However, the data also suggests that either other channels through which religiosity affects health may exist or the mechanism of psychological resources goes far beyond of “good moods” and contains much more plentiful and profound connotations that is relevant to health.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 41334.

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Date of creation: 02 Aug 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:41334

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Keywords: Christian; health; religiosity; omitted variable bias; twins; within estimation;

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  1. Geronimus, Arline T & Korenman, Sanders, 1992. "The Socioeconomic Consequences of Teen Childbearing Reconsidered," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1187-214, November.
  2. Levin, Jeffrey S., 1994. "Religion and health: Is there an association, is it valid, and is it causal?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 1475-1482, June.
  3. Levin, Jeffrey S. & Vanderpool, Harold Y., 1987. "Is frequent religious attendance really conducive to better health?: Toward an epidemiology of religion," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 24(7), pages 589-600, January.
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