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Health Soc Work. 2006 Nov;31(4):246-55.

Functional limitations and religious service attendance among African American and white older adults.

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  • 1School of Social Work, Univeristy of Alabama, Tuscaloosa 35487-0314, USA.


Church attendance is associated with improved health and well-being among older adults, but older adults with functional limitations may have difficulty attending church services. This article examines differences in the association between functional limitations and church attendance in a sample of 987 elderly African American and white individuals. African American and white elderly people without limitations attended church at virtually the same rate (69 percent). Despite their higher scores on religiousness measures, elderly African Americans with one or more limitations were significantly less likely to attend church regularly than were white counterparts. Health status measures did not help explain older African Americans' lower attendance rates. Differences in attendance were associated primarily with educational attainment and cognitive functioning. The article recommends social work intervention to reduce barriers to church attendance for older adults who want to attend services.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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