Looking for evidence to back the benefits of regular church attendance? Look no further than a new Gallup poll, which found better mental health trends among Americans who routinely attend worship services.
Forty-four percent of weekly churchgoers told Gallup they would describe their “mental health and emotional wellbeing” as “excellent.” This compares to 46% who said the same in 2020 and 42% of regular congregants who reported “excellent” mental health in 2019, holding relatively steady.
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Notably, this was the highest proportion for self-reported excellent mental health among gender, age, political-party identification, and annual household income cohorts.
“The wellbeing of most groups mirrors the national trend, with their mental health scores worsening last year followed by little to no improvement this year,” Gallup reported. “However, Democrats’ mental health rating has been steady at a relatively low level since 2019 while frequent churchgoers’ has been steadily high.”
Just 28% of Democrats reported “excellent” mental health, compared to 42% of Republicans.
While Democrats have remained consistent in this regard (29% in 2020 and 30% in 2019), Republicans have seen a decline, falling from 41% in 2020 and 56% in 2019. Still, their proportion is much higher than the progressive cohort.
Other cohorts reporting low proportions of “excellent” mental health are those who make less than $40,000 per year (27%), those who rarely or never attend church (29%), and women (29%).
Americans’ mental health overall has been suffering, with just 34% saying it is “excellent.”
This proportion is at a 21-year low, and the combined “good” and “excellent” rating is at 81%, down from the 85% seen before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Gallup.
The results are clearly complex, with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns adding numerous layers. That said, it appears those who attend church weekly are among the most consistent when it comes to self-reported mental and emotional well-being.
Gallup collected survey data between Nov. 1-16, 2021. Read the full results here.
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