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Anxiety and Church Attendance

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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

Ira Stoll begins his commentary by mentioning that Jonathan Haidt’s new book, The Anxious Generation, is currently the #1 New York Times bestseller. But he then adds that there may be “another, non-technology possible contributor to the mental health crisis that’s getting less attention but may be just as significant.”

That factor is church attendance. It appears that as church attendance goes down, mental health issues go up. A study in Harvard Public Health estimated “about 40 percent of the increasing suicide rate in the United States from 1999 to 2014 might be attributed to declines in attendance at religious services during this period.” Another study estimated that declining church attendance from 1991 to 2019 accounted for 28 percent of the increase in depression among teenagers.

A major review of 215 studies reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that “weekly religious service attendance is longitudinally associated with lower mortality risk, lower depression, less suicide, better cardiovascular disease survival, better health behaviors, and greater marital stability, happiness, and purpose in life.”

Ira Stoll observes that “plenty of mental-health clinicians I know see in religious-service attendance some of the habits and attitudes that can help to combat depression and anxiety. There’s the supportive community, the face-to-face interaction, the getting out of bed and out of the house, the sense of purpose and meaning, the expressions of gratitude and humility.”

And these are just the social benefits of church attendance. There are also spiritual benefits that come from committing your life to Jesus Christ and spending time in Bible study and prayer. That’s why going to church is so important.viewpoints new web version

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