Do religious activities among young–old immigrants act as a buffer against the effect of a lack of resources on well-being?

Theo G. van Tilburg, D.J.H. Deeg, M. Huisman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Despite a large body of sociological and psychological literature suggesting that religious activities may mitigate the effects of stress, few studies have investigated the beneficial effects of religious activities among immigrants. Immigrants in particular may stand to benefit from these activities because they often report a religious affiliation and often occupy disadvantaged positions. This study investigates whether private and public religious activities reduce the negative effects of a lack of physical, social, and socio-economic resources on wellbeing among Turkish and Moroccan young-old immigrants in the Netherlands.

Method: Using data from the Longitudinal Study Amsterdam, cluster analysis revealed three patterns of absence of resources: physically disadvantaged, multiple disadvantages, and relatively advantaged. Linear regression analysis assessed associations between patterns of resources, religious activities and wellbeing.

Results: Persons who are physically disadvantaged or have multiple disadvantages have a lower level of wellbeing compared to persons who are relatively advantaged. More engagement in private religious activities was associated with higher wellbeing. Among those with multiple disadvantages, however, more engagement in private religious activities was associated with lower wellbeing. Public religious activities were not associated with wellbeing in the disadvantaged group.

Conclusion: Private religious activities are positively related to wellbeing among Turkish and Moroccan immigrants. In situations where resources are lacking, however, the relation between private religious activities and wellbeing is negative. The study's results highlight the importance of context, disadvantage and type of religious activity for wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-632
Number of pages8
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number5
Early online date30 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2019


  • Well-being
  • immigrants
  • religiosity
  • structural disadvantage

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