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Religious Music Improves Seniors' Mental Health

Update Date: Apr 19, 2014 01:58 PM EDT
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Among older Christians, listening to religious music is associated with a decrease in anxiety about death and increase in life satisfaction, self-esteem and sense of control over their lives, according to a new research. 

The research, in particular, found that listening to gospel music is associated with a decrease in anxiety about death. The music was also observed to be increasing the the sense of control. 

The association of seniors' mental health and gospel music was found irrespective of black and whites, women and men and individuals of both low- and high-socioeconomic status. 

"Religion is an important socioemotional resource that has been linked with desirable mental health outcomes among older U.S. adults," the authors stated in the press release. "This study shows that listening to religious music may promote psychological well-being in later life."

The study is based on the data from the two waves of the nationwide Religion, Aging, and Health Survey of older black and white U.S. adults. The survey considered household residents who were either black or white, English speaking and at least 65 years of age. Given the parameters of the survey, total 1,024 individuals were considered for the study. 

"Given that religious music is available to most individuals - even those with health problems or physical limitations that might preclude participating in more formal aspects of religious life - it might be a valuable resource for promoting mental health later in the life course," the authors wrote.

The article has been also published online in The Gerontologist.  

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