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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Hong, Ding, 2012. "Health and Christianity: Controlling for Omitted Variable Bias by Using the Data of Twins and Siblings," MPRA Paper 41334, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:41334
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    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. Arline T. Geronimus & Sanders Korenman, 1992. "The Socioeconomic Consequences of Teen Childbearing Reconsidered," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1187-1214.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Christian; health; religiosity; omitted variable bias; twins; within estimation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative

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