• IMA sites
  • IMAJ services
  • IMA journals
  • Follow us
  • Alternate Text Alternate Text
עמוד בית
Sun, 14.07.24


IMAJ | volume 14

Journal 10, October 2012
pages: 595-601

Religion and Physical Health among Older Israeli Jews: Findings from the SHARE-Israel Study


    Background: Despite decades of research on religious determinants of health, this subject has not been systematically investigated within Jewish populations, in Israel or the diaspora. The present paper is part of a series of studies using large-scale population data sources to map the impact of religiousness on the physical and mental health of Jews.
    Objectives: To identify religious predictors of physical health in a national probability sample of older Israeli Jews.

    Methods: The data derive from the Israeli sample of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), a cross-national survey program involving nearly a dozen nations. The Israeli sample comprises 1287 Jewish respondents aged 50 or over. Outcome measures include single-item assessments of self-rated health, long-term health problems and activity limitation, as well as validated measures of diagnosed chronic diseases, physical symptoms, and activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental ADL (IADL).

    Results: Recent synagogue attendance is a significant predictor of better health for six of the seven health measures, even after adjusting for age and several other covariates and mediators, including measures of health-related behavior and social support. Prayer, by contrast, is inversely associated with health according to five measures, perhaps reflecting its use as a coping mechanism for individuals with health problems.

    Conclusions: This study presents modest evidence of a salutary effect of Jewish religiousness on this population of older adults. Religiousness, in the form of synagogue participation, was seen to serve a protective function, and prayer a coping function.

    Legal Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal or medical advice on any matter.
    The IMA is not responsible for and expressly disclaims liability for damages of any kind arising from the use of or reliance on information contained within the site.
    © All rights to information on this site are reserved and are the property of the Israeli Medical Association. Privacy policy

    2 Twin Towers, 35 Jabotinsky, POB 4292, Ramat Gan 5251108 Israel