Institute of Behavioral Sciences, Semmelweis University, Nagyvárad tér 4. XX. em., 1089, Budapest, Hungary, email@example.com.
The relationship between religiosity and health has been investigated in the western world for decades. However, very little data are available from the post-communist region of Europe, where religion was suppressed for a long time.
The aim of the present study was to lessen this gap.
In 2002, 13 years after the regime change, 12,643 persons (mean age = 47.6 ± 17.9 years; 44.8 % male) were interviewed in a Hungarian representative survey. The relationship of mental and physical health indicators with religious worship and personal importance of religion-controlling for several psychological and lifestyle characteristics-were analyzed using the general linear model procedure.
Our results showed that practicing religion was largely associated with better mental health and more favorable physical health status. However, persons being religious in their own way tended to show more unfavourable results across several variables when compared to those practicing religion regularly in a religious community or even to those considering themselves as non-religious. The personal importance of religion showed a mixed pattern, since it was positively associated not only with well-being but depression and anxiety as well.
We can conclude that even after an anti-religious totalitarian political system practicing religion still remained a health protecting factor.