Aging in the Church: How Social Relationships Affect Health

Overview

A growing number of studies indicate that social ties that are formed by older people in the church have a significant positive impact on their physical and mental health. Aging in the Church: How Social Relationships Affect Health by Neal Krause constitutes the first attempt to provide a comprehensive assessment of the various types of relationships that stem from church involvement.

Among the many types of relationships Krause explores are closecompanion friendships, ...

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Aging in the Church: How Social Relationships Affect Health

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Overview

A growing number of studies indicate that social ties that are formed by older people in the church have a significant positive impact on their physical and mental health. Aging in the Church: How Social Relationships Affect Health by Neal Krause constitutes the first attempt to provide a comprehensive assessment of the various types of relationships that stem from church involvement.

Among the many types of relationships Krause explores are closecompanion friendships, social-support structures (such as assistance provided by fellow church members during difficult times), and interactions that arise from Bible study and prayer groups. Through his thorough investigation of the underlying links between these relationships and the ways they relate to attributes like forgiveness, hope, gratitude, and altruism, the author hopes to explain why older adults who are involved in religious activities tend to enjoy better physical and mental health than those who are not involved in religious communities. Going well beyond merely reviewing the existing research on this subject, Aging in the Church provides a blueprint for taking research on church-based social relationships and health to the next level by identifying conceptual and methodological issues that investigators will have to confront as they delve more deeply into these connections.

Though these are complex issues, readers will find plain language throughout, along with literature drawn from a wide array of disciplines, including sociology, psychology, public health, medicine, psychiatry, nursing, social work, gerontology, and theology. Insights from these diverse fields are supplemented with ideas drawn from literature, poetry, philosophy, and ethics. As a result, Aging in the Church takes on a truly interdisciplinary focus that will appeal to a wide variety of scholars, researchers, and students.

 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599471440
  • Publisher: Templeton Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     vii
Social Relationships in the Church and Health: Problems and Prospects     3
Religion and Health: What We Know and What We Need to Do Next     4
Setting Boundaries on the Study of Church-Based Social Ties and Health     9
Why Research on Church-Based Social Ties and Health in Late Life Is Important     11
Overview of the Chapters That Follow     28
Conclusions     31
Church-Based Social Support: Getting Help during Difficult Times     33
Conceptualizing and Measuring Informal Church-Based Social Support     35
Stress-Induced Psychosocial Deficits     39
Mobilizing Support from Fellow Church Members     44
Exploring the Benefits of Church-Based Social Support     46
Sharpening the Theoretical Underpinnings of Church-Based Social Support     53
Less Familiar Dimensions of Church-Based Social Support     65
Bringing Different Kinds of Stressors to the Foreground     70
Conceptual and Methodological Challenges     75
Conclusions     78
Church-Based Companion Friends     79
Identifying the Basic Nature of Close Companion Friends     80
Measuring Close Companion Friendships at Church     85
Linking Close CompanionFriendships with Health and Well-Being     91
Close Companion Friends in Late Life     102
Close Companion Friends and Health: A Preliminary Empirical Examination     103
Conceptual and Methodological Challenges     106
Conclusions     112
Social Relationships That Arise from Formal Roles in the Church     113
Formal Relationships with the Clergy     113
Bible Study Groups and Prayer Groups     127
Formal Relationships in Church Volunteer Programs     134
Formal Assistance for the Homebound     145
Conclusions     151
Negative Interaction in the Church: Exploring the Dark Side of Religion     155
Measuring Negative Interaction in the Church     157
Prior Research on Negative Interaction in the Church, Health, and Well-Being     160
Negative Interaction in the Church and Health: Examining Conceptual Linkages     162
Negative Interaction with the Clergy     169
Negative Interaction in the Church during Late Life     171
Conceptual and Methodological Challenges     173
Conclusions     185
Exploring the Pervasive Influence of Social Structural Factors     187
A Strategy for Studying Social Structural Variations in Church-Based Social Ties and Health     189
Variations by Race: Studying Older African Americans     192
Gender, Church-Based Social Ties, and Health in Late Life     203
Church-Based Social Ties and Health: Variations by Socioeconomic Status     216
Conclusions     229
Conclusions: Taking a Broader Perspective and Identifying Next Steps     232
Core Religious Beliefs and Church-Based Social Relationships     235
General Conceptual and Methodological Challenges     239
Casting a Broader Net: Delving into the Dark Morass of Subjectivity     261
Technical Details of the Religion, Aging, and Health (RAH) Survey     267
References     271
Index     303
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