A study has found that older people who regularly go to Mass are less likely to suffer from depression.
The research was carried out by a team at Trinity College Dublin. They surveyed 6,000 people aged 50 or over, with interviews taking place at 2-year intervals from 2010 to 2016.
They found that those who regularly attended religious services reported lower depressive symptoms.
Participants were given various statements such as “I felt depressed in the last few weeks” and asked to rate them on how accurately they related to themselves.
Lead author of the study Joanna Orr said: “We did see that people are attending mass less and that their social networks are getting smaller but that is to be expected in a way, because the study includes people who are in the over-80s and 90s group.
“The most important thing to come out of the study is that social engagement is important and that as we go forward, we have to think of ways as a society to enable people to be engaged.”
Other points of note from the research were that religion is slightly more important to women than men, with 86% of women considering it an important aspect of life, compared to 76% of men.
However, during the six-year study, the level of attendance to Mass from both men and women fell slightly.