Scientists at Ohio State University arrived at the figure after studying over 1,000 obituaries from across the U.S. The team also factored in whether the person was married and their sex, which both can affect how long a person will live.
Laura Wallace, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in psychology at Ohio State University, said in a statement: “religious affiliation had nearly as strong an effect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life.”
To investigate whether religious beliefs cold affect the age a person dies, the team first assessed over 500 obituaries in the Des Moines Register, a newspaper in Iowa, from between January and February 2012. They documented the age, sex, marital status, social and volunteer activities listed in the piece, as well as the religious affiliation of the deceased.