Only One Group of Americans Avoided Mental Health Decline in 2020: Those Who Got to Church Regularly

A survey found that weekly churchgoers are the only group of Americans whose mental health did not decline in 2020.

The numbers: Gallup’s annual wellness survey, released in December, found an overall decrease in Americans reporting “excellent” mental health from 2019.

  • Among those who attend religious services seldom or never, the rate fell from 42% to 29%.
  • But Americans who attend religious services weekly were more likely to report excellent mental health than last year, 46% versus 42%.

Gallup pointed to the coronavirus pandemic, poor perceived race relations and the 2020 election as possible challenges to Americans’ mental health.

Republicans reported a larger overall decline in mental health than did Democrats or Independents, with 41% feeling excellent compared to 56% in 2019.

  • Evangelicals, the largest U.S. religious group, voted overwhelmingly for President Donald Trump, who lost the 2020 election.

The good news: Studies have found church attendance is associated with a variety of positive health outcomes, including lower rates of smoking and depression and extended life expectancy

  • “This suggests that there is something powerful about the communal religious experience,” said Tyler J. VanderWeele, a professor of epidemiology at Harvard. “These are systems of thought and practice shaped over millennia, and they are powerful.”
Source: Webfluencr
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