The effects of church attendance and marital status on the longitudinal trajectories of depressed mood among older adults

Rita W. Law, David A. Sbarra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Objective: The present study investigated the potential effects of church attendance and marital status on mood trajectories among older adults and whether these effects varied by gender. Method: Data from the Australian Longitudinal Study of Aging were used to examine the effects of church attendance and marital status on changes in depressed mood. Participants included 791 older adults (42.4% men; mean age at study entry = 75.62) who were interviewed at three time points over 8 years. Results: Using multilevel modeling to assess change, church attendance was found to have a protective effect against the emergence of mood problems among older adults. Also, although becoming married was associated with a decrease in depressed mood, becoming nonmarried was associated with an increase in depressed mood. Discussion: A sense of purpose as a potential explanation for the association between church attendance and changes in depressed mood in old age was discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)803-823
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2009



  • Australian Longitudinal Study of Aging
  • Church attendance
  • Depression
  • Gender
  • Marital status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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