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Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 765–782 | Cite as

Religious Differences in Self-Rated Health Among US Jews: Findings from Five Urban Population Surveys

  • Jeff Levin
Original Paper

Abstract

Research findings on religion and health among Jews are in relatively short supply. While recent studies report on the health of Israelis and the mental health of Jews in the USA, little information exists on the physical health of US Jews, especially from population surveys. In this study, data are analyzed from five urban surveys of Jews conducted since 2000: two surveys from New York (N = 4,533; N = 5,993) and one apiece from Chicago (N = 1,993), Philadelphia (N = 1,217), and Boston (N = 1,766). A strategy of two-way ANCOVA with interaction was used to test for differences in self-rated health across five categories of Jewish religious affiliation (secular, Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, Orthodox) and four categories of synagogue attendance (from never to at least weekly). Findings, adjusted for age and effects of other covariates, reveal that affiliated and synagogue-attending Jews report moderately better health than secular and non-attending Jews.

Keywords

Self-rated health Religion Judaism Urban Population survey 

Notes

Acknowledgments

An earlier version of this paper was presented as part of the Presidential Panel at the 76th Annual Meeting of the Association for the Sociology of Religion (ASR), San Francisco, CA, August 15, 2014. Data used in this study were made available from the Berman Jewish DataBank at the Jewish Federations of North America (http://www.jewishdatabank.org/), a program in partnership with the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at NYU Wagner and the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life at the University of Connecticut. Samples included the Jewish Community Study of New York: 2002 (PIs: Jacob B. Ukeles and Ron Miller; Sponsor: UJA-Federation of New York); the Jewish Community Study of New York: 2011 (PIs: Steven M. Cohen, Jacob B. Ukeles, Ron Miller, Pearl Beck, David Dutwin, and Swetlana Shmulyian; Sponsor: UJA-Federation of New York); the 2010 Metropolitan Chicago Jewish Community Study (PIs: Jacob Ukeles, Ron Miller, and David Dutwin; Sponsor: Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago); the 2009 Population Survey of Greater Philadelphia (PI: Etienne Phipps; Sponsor: Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia); and the Greater Boston 2005 Community Study (PIs: Leonard Saxe, Benjamin Phillips, Charles Kadushin, Graham Wright, and Daniel Parmer; Sponsor: Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston).

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Studies of ReligionBaylor UniversityWacoUSA

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