Religious participation and mortality risk in Mexico

Terrence D. Hill, Joseph L. Saenz, Sunshine M. Rote

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objectives: Although research suggests that religious involvement tends to favor longevity, most of this work has been conducted in the United States. This article explores the association between religious participation and all-cause mortality risk in Mexico. Methods: We used data from the 2003-2015 Mexican Health and Aging Study (n = 14,743) and Cox proportional hazard regression models to assess the association between religious participation and all-cause mortality risk. Results: Our key finding is that older Mexicans who participate once or more per week in religious activities tend to exhibit a 19% reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality than those who never participate. This estimate persisted with adjustments for health selection (chronic disease burden, activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, cognitive functioning, and depressive symptoms), several potential mediators (social support, smoking, and drinking), and a range of sociodemographic characteristics. Although we observed considerable health selection due to physical health and cognitive functioning, we found no evidence of mediation. Discussion: Our results confirm that religious participation is associated with lower all-cause mortality risk among older adults in Mexico. Our analyses contribute to previous research by replicating and extending the external validity of studies conducted in the United States, Israel, Denmark, Finland, and Taiwan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1053-1061
Number of pages9
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 16 2020


  • Health disparities
  • Mexico
  • Mortality
  • Religion/spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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