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


  • Gokce Soydemir
  • Elena Bastida
  • Genaro Gonzalez


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Gokce Soydemir & Elena Bastida & Genaro Gonzalez, 2004. "The impact of religiosity on self- assessments of health and happiness: evidence from the US Southwest," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(7), pages 665-672.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:36:y:2004:i:7:p:665-672
    DOI: 10.1080/0003684042000222052

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. French, Michael T. & Zarkin, Gary A., 1995. "Is moderate alcohol use related to wages? Evidence from four worksites," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 319-344, August.
    2. Dwyer, Debra Sabatini & Mitchell, Olivia S., 1999. "Health problems as determinants of retirement: Are self-rated measures endogenous?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 173-193, April.
    3. Zarkin, Gary A. & French, Michael T. & Mroz, Thomas & Bray, Jeremy W., 1998. "Alcohol use and wages: New results from the national household survey on drug abuse," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 53-68, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Maselko, Joanna & Kubzansky, Laura D., 2006. "Gender differences in religious practices, spiritual experiences and health: Results from the US General Social Survey," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(11), pages 2848-2860, June.
    2. Fiorillo, Damiano & Sabatini, Fabio, 2015. "Structural social capital and health in Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 129-142.
    3. Jun Lu & Qin Gao, 2017. "Faith and Happiness in China: Roles of Religious Identity, Beliefs, and Practice," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 132(1), pages 273-290, May.
    4. Neil R. Meredith, 2014. "Religious service attendance and labour force status: evidence from survey data using count data methods," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(34), pages 4242-4255, December.
    5. David Penn, 2009. "Financial well-being in an urban area: an application of multiple imputation," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(23), pages 2955-2964.
    6. Monica R─âileanu-Szeles, 2015. "Explaining the Dynamics and Drivers of Financial Well-Being in the European Union," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 120(3), pages 701-722, February.

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