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People who are religious may live an average of four years longer

Want to live longer? Consider joining a church.

People who are religious live an average of four years longer than those who have no ties to religion, a study published Wednesday in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. The researchers analyzed the obituaries of more than 1,000 people around the country, and adjusted for other factors that can affect lifespan, including the gender and marital status of the deceased.

“Religious affiliation had nearly as strong an effect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life,” said Laura Wallace, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in psychology at The Ohio State University.

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