Religious Participation and Biological Functioning in Mexico

Terrence D. Hill, Sunshine M. Rote, Christopher G. Ellison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective:Although several studies suggest that religious involvement tends to favor healthy biological functioning, most of this work has been conducted in the United States. This study explores the association between religious participation and biological functioning in Mexico. Method: The data are drawn from two waves of the Mexican Health and Aging Study (2003-2012) to assess continuous and categorical biomarker specifications. Results: Across specifications, religious participation in 2003 is associated with lower levels of waist-to-hip ratio, total cholesterol, pulse rate, and overall allostatic load in 2012. Respondents who increased their participation over the study period also exhibit a concurrent reduction in pulse rate. Depending on the specification, participation is also associated with lower levels of diastolic blood pressure and C-reactive protein. Participation is generally unrelated to body mass index, glycosylated hemoglobin, and systolic blood pressure. Discussion: Our results confirm that religious participation is associated with healthier biological functioning in Mexico.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)951-972
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Mexico
  • biomarkers
  • epidemiology
  • religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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