Church attendance

Church attendance

LASA filenames:
LASAz038 (3B, MB)

Contact: Arjan Braam


Church attendance is considered as a behavioural aspect of religiousness, ‘organized religious behaviour’. Other terms are religious attendance, religious involvement, and religious participation. Measures generally focus on the frequency of attending a religious service, i.e. observing in a religious ceremony.

Measurement instrument in LASA

Frequency of church attendance was asked with the question:

‘Do you attend church services or meetings of your religious group, and if so, how often?’

Instead of using the word “church”, one can also refer to the “mosque”, “synagogue”, “temple”, “prayer meeting”, and so forth.

Using a 6-point scale, response categories included:
1 = “never”;
2 = “once a year or less”;
3 = “several times a year”;
4 = “monthly”;
5 = “two to three times a month”;
6 = “once a week or more”.


RELIG1b in: LASAD038 / LASAE038 / LAS2B038 / LASAF038 / LASAG038 / LASAH038 / LASAz038(3B) / LASAz038(MB) / LASAI038 / LASAJ038 / LASAK038 (main interview: in Dutch)

Variable information

RELIG1b in: LASAD038 / LASAE038 / LAS2B038 / LASAF038 / LASAG038 / LASAH038 / LASAI038 / LASAJ038 / LASAK038
LASAz038 (3B, MB, J=in processing)

Availability of information per wave


Frequency of church attendance

¹ More information about the LASA data collection waves is available here.

* 2B=baseline second cohort;
3B=baseline third cohort;
MB=migrants: baseline first cohort

Ma=data collected in main interview

Previous use in LASA

Church attendance has been examined as a possible determinant of depressive symptoms (Braam et al., 1997, 2001, 2004) as well as of volunteering (Suanet et al., 2009). Simultaneous analyses of these variables in one multivariate model may meet with problems of collinearity.

The combination of information on religious affiliation (non-church members, Protestants and Roman Catholics) and frequency of church attendance may provide a more accurate description of the type and degree of religious involvement than separately (Suanet et al., 2009). The following categorisation was constructed. Those attending church at least 2–3 times a month are considered practising, while those attending church less often are considered non-practising. In combination with the various denominations, this results in the following categories:
0 = ‘no church membership’,
1 = ‘Calvinist practising’,
2 = ‘Calvinist non-practising’,
3 = ‘Roman Catholic practising’,
4 = ‘Roman Catholic non-practising’ and
5 = ‘other’.


  1. Braam, A.W., Beekman, A.T.F., Tilburg, T.G. van, Deeg, D.J.H., & Tilburg, W. van (1997). Religious Involvement and Depression in Older Dutch Citizens. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 32, 284-291.
  2. Braam, A.W., Eeden, P. van den, Prince, M.J., Beek­man, A.T.F., Kivelä, S., Lawlor, B.A., Birkhofer, A., Fuhrer, R., Lobo, A., Mann, A., Magnusson, H., Mel­ler, I., Roelands, M., Skoog, I., Turrina, C., & Cope­land, J.R.M. (2001). Religion as a cross-cultural determinant of depression in elderly Europeans: results from the EURODEP collaboration. Psycho­logical Medicine 31, 803-814.
  3. Braam, A.W., Hein, E., Deeg, D.J.H., Twisk, J.W.R., Beekman, A.T.F., & Tilburg, W. van (2004). Religious involvement and 6-year course of depressive symptoms in older Dutch citizens. Journal of Aging and Health 16, 467-489.
  4. Suanet, B., Broese van Groenou, M., Braam, A.W. (2009). Changes in volunteering among young old in the Netherlands between 1992 and 2002: the impact of religion, age-norms, and intergenerational transmission. European Journal of Aging 6, 157-165.

Date of last update: March, 2018 (LS)