Good Faith and Bad Health: Self-Assessed Religiosity and Self-Assessed Health of Women and Men in Europe

Reprint No. 2021:2

Author(s): Niclas Berggren and Martin LjungeYear: 2021 Title: Social Indicators Research Volume (No.): 153 (1) Pages: 323–344
Online article (restrictions may apply)
Preliminary version

Religion exerts a powerful influence on many people’s lives. We investigate how self-assessed religiosity affects self-assessed health in Europe. Our sample consists of individuals with a native father and an immigrant mother from another European country. This sample allows for a causal interpretation since we can use the religiosity of the mother’s birth country as an instrument for individual religiosity in the first stage of a 2SLS regression analysis, which is related, in the second stage, to the individual’s health assessment. We find that the more religious are substantially more likely to report bad health. Several robustness tests offer a strong confirmation of the negative relationship between self-assessed religiosity and self-assessed health. Notably, this negative relationship is concentrated among women. The analysis indicates that religious constraints on women’s autonomy can impair their health.

Berggren, Niclas and Martin Ljunge (2021), "Good Faith and Bad Health: Self-Assessed Religiosity and Self-Assessed Health of Women and Men in Europe". Social Indicators Research 153(1), 323–344.

Niclas Berggren


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Martin Ljunge


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Interdisciplinary European Studies

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