See also: Orthodoxy

LASA filenames:
LASA038 (questions RELIG08-RELIG8a)

Contact: Arjan Braam or Arjan Oosterwijk


Frequency of prayer is considered a behavioral aspect of religiosity, ‘non-organized religious behavior’. The one item variable in LASA assesses how often the respondent engages in prayer and meditation (RELIG8a). This last choice has been made to accommodate respondents who are not or no longer affiliated to a religious organization, but who still have their own ways of private spiritual behavior. Although the intentions of prayer and meditation differ, both types of behavior share important features, such as their private performance, silence, recitation, use of candles and taking a restful body position. Other prayer characteristics, such as the duration or the contents of prayer have not been asked in the LASA interview.

A related one-item variable is ‘perceived meaningfulness of prayer’ also denoted as ‘importance of prayer’: item RELIG08 “Do you think praying makes sense for you?”  This variable is part of the Orthodoxy Scale LASA038, used at cycle 2 (wave C), and has been used as single item afterwards (from wave D onwards).

Measurement instruments in LASA

In LASA, frequency of prayer is asked by the question:
How often do you pray or meditate? (RELIG8a)

Response categories: never, less than once a month, once a month, a few times a month, once a week, a few times a week, once a day, more than once a day.

Meaningfulness of prayer is asked by the question:
Do you think praying makes sense for you? (RELIG08)

Response categories: no, yes.


LASAC038 / LASAD038 / LASAE038 / LAS2B038 / LASAF038 / LASAG038 / LASAH038 / LAS3B038 / LASAI038 / LASAJ038 / LASAK038 (main interview, in Dutch)

Variable information
LASAC038 / LASAD038 / LASAE038 / LAS2B038 / LASAF038 / LASAG038 / LASAH038 / LAS3B038 / LASAI038 / LASAJ038 / LASAK038

Availability of information per wave


Meaningfullness of praying
RELIG08 (in LASA*038)
Frequency of praying
RELIG8a (in LASA*038)

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

Studies on religion have predominantly been performed by Braam et al [1-3].


  1. Braam, A.W., Deeg, D.J.H., Poppelaars, J.L., Beekman, A.T.F., & Tilburg W. van (2007). Prayer and depressive symptoms in a period of secularization: patterns among older adults in The Netherlands. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 15, 273-281.
  2. Braam, A.W., Schaap-Jonker H., Mooi, B., Ritter D. de, Beekman, A.T.F., Deeg D.J.H. (2008). God image and mood in old age: results from a community-based pilot study in the Netherlands. Mental Health, Religion & Culture 11, 221-237.
  3. Braam, A.W., Schaap-Jonker, J., Horst, M.H.L. van der, Steunenberg B., Beekman, A.T.F., Tilburg, W. van, & Deeg, D.J.H. (2014). Twelve-year history of late-life depression and subsequent feelings to God. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 22, 1272-1281.
  4. Hart, J. de (2014). Geloven binnen en buiten verband. Godsdienstige ontwikkelingen in Nederland. Den Haag, Netherlands, Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau.

Date of last update: October, 2017 (LS)