Religion and health among African Americans: A qualitative examination

Loren Marks, Olena Nesteruk, Mandy Swanson, Betsy Garrison, Tanya Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Hummer, Rogers, Nam, and Ellison found a 13.7-year advantage in longevity for African Americans who attend worship services more than once a week compared with those who never attend. This article subsequently responds to the question, Why do highly religious African Americans live significantly longer? A purposive sample of highly religious, African American adults were interviewed using an in-depth, qualitative approach to examine the religion-health-longevity interface. Six themes relating to the research question are reported: active faith involvement and the aged, avoiding negative coping, evading violence, the absence of hope, social support, and the power of prayer. The six themes are discussed in detail, and directions for future research are recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-474
Number of pages28
JournalResearch on Aging
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • African American
  • Health
  • Longevity
  • Religion
  • Spirituality


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