The Health & Wellness Benefits of Synagogue Attendance

By Levi Brackman, 02-19-2016.

Proven Health & Wellness Benefits of Religious Attendance
 
1. Lower Risk of Depression: Researchers found that those who attended religious services at least once a month compared with those who do not attend were 22% less likely to suffer depression (Strawbridge et al., 1997).

2. Better Time & Life Management: Youth who attend religious services have better time management skills and are more likely to achieve their goals (Freeman 1985). 

3. Grades and higher education aspirations:  Religious attendance was related to gretaer math and reading test results as well as greater educational aspirations in a group of at risk-youth (Regnerus 2000; Regnerus 2001). Religious involvement also adds to social capital that makes academic success more likely (Muller and Ellison 2001).

4. Lower Mortality Rate: Frequent religious attenders have lower mortality rates (Strawbridge et al., 1997). Older adults, particularly women, who attend religious services at least once a week appear to have a survival advantage over those attending services less frequently, (Koenig, 1999).

How does this work:

Lower mortality rates were partly explained by improved health practices, increased social contacts, and more stable marriages occurring in conjunction with attendance. In addition religion adds purpose in life (Aghababaei et al., 2016; Wang, 2016) and religious attendance adds social support connections (Wang, 2016). 

Biblical Temple Attendance and Involvement in Ritual  - Exodus Chapter 29

25 You shall then take them from their hand[s] and make them go up in smoke upon the altar with the burnt offering as a spirit of satisfaction before the Lord; it is a fire offering for the Lord.
 
26 And you shall take the breast of the ram of perfection which is Aaron's, and wave it as a waving before the Lord, and it will become your portion.
 
27 And you shall sanctify the breast of the waving and the thigh of the uplifting, which was waved and which was lifted up, of the ram of perfection, of that which is Aaron's and of that which is his sons'.

Reference:

Aghababaei, N., Sohrabi, F., Eskandari, H., Borjali, A., Farrokhi, N., & Chen, Z. J. (2016). Predicting subjective well-being by religious and scientific attitudes with hope, purpose in life, and death anxiety as mediators.Personality and Individual Differences, 90, 93-98.

Rudy Bowen, M. D. (2013). Religious attendance, spirituality, and major depression in Canada: a 14-year follow-up study. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 58(4), 225.

Freeman, R. B. (1985). Who Escapes? The Relation of Church-Going & Other Background Factors to the Socio-Economic Performance of Blk. Male Yths. from Inner-City Pvrty Tracts.

Muller, C., & Ellison, C. G. (2001). Religious involvement, social capital, and adolescents' academic progress: Evidence from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988. Sociological Focus, 34(2), 155-183.

Regnerus, M. D. (2001). Making the grade: The influence of religion upon the academic performance of youth in disadvantaged communities. Center for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society, University of Pennsylvania.

Strawbridge, W. J., Cohen, R. D., Shema, S. J., & Kaplan, G. A. (1997). Frequent attendance at religious services and mortality over 28 years. American Journal of Public Health, 87(6), 957-961.

Koenig, H. G., Hays, J. C., Larson, D. B., George, L. K., Cohen, H. J., McCullough, M. E., ... & Blazer, D. G. (1999). Does religious attendance prolong survival? A six-year follow-up study of 3,968 older adults. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences,54(7), M370-M376.

Wang, Z., Koenig, H. G., Ma, H., & Al Shohaib, S. (2016). Religion, Purpose in Life, Social Support, and Psychological Distress in Chinese University Students. Journal of religion and health, 1-10.