A survey found that weekly churchgoers are the only group of Americans whose mental health did not decline in 2020.
The numbers: Gallup’s annual wellness survey, released in December, found an overall decrease in Americans reporting “excellent” mental health from 2019.
- Among those who attend religious services seldom or never, the rate fell from 42% to 29%.
- But Americans who attend religious services weekly were more likely to report excellent mental health than last year, 46% versus 42%.
Gallup pointed to the coronavirus pandemic, poor perceived race relations and the 2020 election as possible challenges to Americans’ mental health.
Republicans reported a larger overall decline in mental health than did Democrats or Independents, with 41% feeling excellent compared to 56% in 2019.
- Evangelicals, the largest U.S. religious group, voted overwhelmingly for President Donald Trump, who lost the 2020 election.
- “This suggests that there is something powerful about the communal religious experience,” said Tyler J. VanderWeele, a professor of epidemiology at Harvard. “These are systems of thought and practice shaped over millennia, and they are powerful.”