Religiousness and Quality of Life Among Older Adults of Different Ethnic Groups in Malaysia: A Five-Year Follow-up Study
Tan, Min Min
Ting, Rachel Sing-Kiat
Su, Tin Tin
MetadataShow full item record
Tan, M.M., Reidpath, D.D., Ting, R.S.-K., Allotey, P. and Su, T.T. (2022) ‘Religiousness and quality of life among older adults of different ethnic groups in Malaysia: a five-year follow-up study’, Journal of Religion and Health, 61(2), pp. 1548–1563. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-021-01371-x.
Research has shown that religion is associated with a better quality of life (QoL). This study aims to examine ethnic differences in the association between religion and the QoL of older adults in a predominantly Muslim population within a multicultural setting. Two-wave data of 3,810 participants consisting of mostly Muslims and older adults aged ≥ 55 years were collected as part of the community health surveys conducted in 2013 and 2018 in the South East Asia Community Observatory (SEACO). Both cross-sectional analyses of baseline data and prospective analyses of longitudinal data were conducted. The associations between religiosity and quality of life were mainly positive in the cross-sectional analysis. In the two-wave analysis, religious importance was negatively associated with QoL among the Malays (B = − 1.103, SE B = 0.029, p < .001) and the Chinese (B = − 0.160, SE B = 0.043, p < .001), and a belief in a higher power control was associated with better QoL among the Malays (B = 0.051, SE B = 0.022, p < .005) and poorer QoL domains among the Indians (physical health: B = − 5.412, SE B = 1.382, p < .001; psychological: B = − 3.325, SE B = 1.42, p < .001; social relationship: B = − 5.548, SE B = 1.616, p < .001; environment: B = − 2.586, SE B = 1.288; p < .05). Our study's mixed results suggest that religiosity is positively associated with quality of life in cross-sectional analyses. However, in longitudinal analyses, the results are different. Conclusions with regard to causality based on cross-sectional analyses may be misleading. Health promotion programs should continue to examine the effect of religiousness on health outcomes over time among aging populations across different ethnic groups.