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Religion and Preventative Health Care Utilization Among the Elderly

The purpose of this paper is to overcome the gap in our knowledge by considering the effects of religious involvement on six different types of preventative health care (i.e. flu shots, cholesterol screening, breast self-exams, mammograms, pap smears, and prostrate screening) in a nationally representative sample. In pursuing this goal, the following steps occurred. First, researchers discussed the ways in which religion should affect health care use and the mechanisms that may account for that relationship. Next, they tested several hypotheses regarding these relationships using data from a sample of older adults. Hypotheses are:

Hypothesis 1. Individuals who rate religion as very or somewhat important in their lives use more preventative health services than those who say it is unimportant.

Hypothesis 2. Use of preventative health care services differs by religious denomination.

Hypothesis 3. The effect of religious salience and denomination on preventative service use will be stronger for women than for men.

 After analyze of collected data, consequently, the first two hypotheses were supported. The differences in levels of preventative care use found here may help to inform the more general literature on religion and health by shedding light on one possible mediating factor. Based on the observation, researchers interpreted that, religion maybe more important for encouraging individuals to get a complete set of preventative care services than for influencing them to get anyone or two specific types of care.

 Evidence supporting a relationship between religion and physical health has increased substantially in the recent past. Despite this interest, and the growing concern over escalating health care costs, the possible role of religion in shaping patterns of preventative health care utilization has been largely ignored until now.


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