In the latest study to link church-going with well-being, researchers find that people who attend religious services regularly are more optimistic and less depressed than their non-religious peers.

Previous research has suggested that people who attend services are also happier and more satisfied and live longer too. (On the other hand, they tend to be fatter.)

The new study, published in the Journal of Religion and Health, included data on 93,000 middle-aged women who participated in the long-running Women’s Health Initiative. Led by Eliezer Schnall, an associate professor of clinical psychology at Yeshiva University in New York City, researchers found that women who attended religious services at least once a week were 56% more likely to score above average on a survey of optimism than non-religious women. They were also 22% less likely to be depressed.

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