Rise in “deaths of despair” and loss of religion

At MarketWatch there is a piece entitled

Rise in middle-aged white ‘deaths of despair’ may be fueled by loss of religion, new research paper argues


So-called deaths of despair such as from suicide or alcohol abuse have been skyrocketing for middle-aged white Americans.

It’s been blamed on various phenomenon, including opioid abuse. But a new research paper finds a different culprit — declining religious practice.


States that experienced larger declines in religious participation in the last 15 years of the 20th century saw larger increases in deaths of despair.


What’s also interesting is that the impact seems to be driven by actual formal religious participation, rather than belief or personal activities like prayer. “These results underscore the importance of cultural institutions such as religious establishments in promoting well-being,” they said.


But… but… but…. VATICAN II!!

It’s a new springtime, like Pentecost all over again but BETTER!


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. TheCavalierHatherly says:

    I think Lewis and Short provide a sufficient etymology.

    “Religio (in poetry also relligio , to lengthen the first syllable), ?nis, f. Concerning the etymology of this word, various opinions were prevalent among the ancients. Cicero (N. D. 2, 28, 72) derives it from rel?gere, an etymology favored by the verse cited ap. Gell. 4, 9, 1, religentem esse oportet, religiosum nefas; whereas Servius (ad Verg. A. 8, 349), Lactantius (4, 28), Augustine (Retract. 1, 13), al., assume religare as the primitive, and for this derivation Lactantius cites the expression of Lucretius (1, 931; 4, 7): religionum nodis animos exsolvere. Modern etymologists mostly agree with this latter view, assuming as root lig, to bind, whence also lic-tor, lex, and ligare; hence, religio sometimes means the same as obligatio; v. Corss. Aussprache, 1, 444 sq.; cf. Munro ad Lucr. 1, 109.”

    “To bind.”

  2. I’m Gen X and this doesn’t surprise me. Without a firm grounding in religious practice, souls have no firm basis for anything and will end up being miserable worldlings ruined by false gods that fail.

  3. Gaetano says:

    The Laws of God are like the Law of Gravity.
    We ignore them at our peril.

    We don’t need God to intervene to punish our wrongdoing. The risks are there, and the consequences obvious to those with eyes to see.

  4. Pingback: THVRSDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

  5. Rob83 says:

    Concerning spiritual weather, spring and autumn can look the same at a snapshot in time, the difference is in the direction of the change. It would not be surprising to learn that it has once again miraculously snowed in Rome one of these forthcoming summers.

    Modern man is very confused about death, which is partly why so many have spent the last 3 years terrified of a cold. If people believe in heaven, a pandemic is nothing to worry about – repent, stay confessed, and if the sickness kills, heaven can be reached all the sooner (the 1962 MR’s calendar has a lot of plague saints)! If not, it’s good practice for when death eventually pays his visit.

  6. Mariana2 says:

    I often wonder how people can live without religion – if they think the world is an accident, our being here is by chance, popular culture is all there is, and then you die?

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