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Int J Psychiatry Med. 2011;42(1):13-28.

The relationship between religious attendance and blood pressure: the HUNT Study, Norway.

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MF Norwegian School of Theology, Oslo, Norway.



Research from the United States shows a possible relationship between religious attendance (RA) and blood pressure (BP). The religious context in the United States differs widely from Scandinavia. The aim was, therefore, to test whether the relationship between RA and BP is specific to the religious culture in the United States or whether a similar relationship exists between RA and BP in a Norwegian context.


Data from the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study's third wave, HUNT 3 (2006-08), was used. The associations between RA and diastolic (DBP) and systolic (SBP) blood pressure in women (n = 20,066) and men (n = 15,898) were investigated in a cross-sectional study using multiple regression analyses.


Mean DBP for women/men was 71.0 mmHg/76.7 mmHg. Mean SBP was 128.5 mmHg/134.0 mmHg; 39.1%/42.8% of women/men never attended religious services, 3.8%/3.4% attended more than 3x/month. The bivariate associations were statistically significant between RA and SBP in both genders and women's DBP but not men's DBP. After adjustment, inverse associations between RA and DBP/SBP for both genders were found. The RA-DBP relationship (p < 0.001) demonstrated a gradient in effect for both genders, with increasing RA associated with decreasing DBP, with 1.50/1.67 mmHg lower in women/men respectively in those attending more than 3x/month, 0.87/1.16 mmHg lower in those attending 1-3x/month, and 0.49/0.10 mmHg less in those attending 1-6x/6 months. Differences in RA-SBP (p < 0.05) were 2.12/1.71 mmHg, 0.30/0.11 mmHg, and 0.58/0.63 mmHg, respectively.


In a large population-based survey in Norway, RA was associated with lower DBP and SBP after adjusting for relevant variables.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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