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A. Why 'Religious Coping Practices' Lead to Longer Life

Narrator: This is Science Today. A new analysis of a forty-year-old study indicates that attending church may lead-if not to an afterlife-then at least to a longer life. Doug Oman of the University of California, Berkeley's School of Public Health says that of the 6,000 people followed since 1965, those who attended church frequently had a twenty percent lower death rate than those who did not.

Oman: It could be for a number of reasons. Partly it could be that as time goes on, those who are attending services may have additional encouragement to have good health behaviors, even as time continues, less smoking, more exercise, more social connections and so on.

Narrator: But more likely, he says, people who attend church have better access to what he calls religious coping practices.

Oman: That is they may have more inner peace from being able to manage stress better. And that might in turn affect the body in a beneficial way.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.