Salience of religion

Salience of religion

LASA filenames:
LASA038 (questions RELIG09-RELIG13)
LASA238 (salience scale score, based on 5 items)
LASA110 (question QIMPOR6)
LASAC608 (salience of religion, questions RELIG09 and RELIG10)
LASAC708 (salience of religion, questions RELIG09 and RELIG10)

Contact: Arjan Braam


Religious salience is defined as the relative importance of religion in one’s personal life (Hoge &  De Zuluetea, 1985). It is considered a subjective measure for religiousness, and is in LASA mainly studied in relation to depression and to a minor extent to physical health.

Measurement instruments in LASA

In LASAC608, salience of religion was assessed using two items of a religious salience scale (Felling et el. 1986): “My religious faith/philosophy of life has a pronounced impact on my daily life” and “When I take important decisions, my religious faith/philosophy of life plays a considerable role.” Response categories range between “totally disagree” (0) to “totally agree” (5). Salience of religion was also probed in the proxy interview, using the same items (“Salience-according-to-proxy”).  These questions were also asked in LASA*038, followed by three other questions about religious salience in this questionnaire.

LASA*110 – Important aspects of life, also includes one question about the importance of religion (Strong faith).


RELIG09-RELIG13 in: LASAC038 / LASAD038 / LASAE038 / LAS2B038 (main interview, in Dutch);
QIMPOR6 in: LASAB110 / LASAC110 / LASAD110 / LASAE110 / LAS2B110 / LASAF110 / LASAG110 / LASAH110 / LAS3B110 / LASAI110 / LASAJ110 (self-administered questionnaire, in Dutch);
LASAC608 (RELIG09-RELIG10, telephone interview with PROXY, in Dutch)
LASAC708 (RELIG09-RELIG10, telephone interview with RESP, in Dutch)

Variable information
LASAC038 / LASAD038 / LASAE038 / LAS2B038;
LASAC238 / LASAD238 / LASAE238 / LAS2B238 (scale scores: csal_int, dsal_int, esal_int and bsal_int, respectively)
LASAB110 / LASAC110 / LASAD110 / LASAE110 / LAS2B110 / LASAF110 / LASAG110 / LASAH110 / LAS3B110 / LASAI110 / LASAJ110 / LASAK110

Availability of information per wave


(RELIG09-13 in LASA*038)
(satis1, satis2 in LASA110)
(LASA*238, 5 items)

(QIMPOR6 in LASA*110)

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;
Sa=data collected in self-administered questionnaire;
Tel=data collected in telephone interview with respondent or proxy

Previous use in LASA

Braam et al 1997 showed that religious salience was not associated with incidence of depression. However, it had a relatively strong association with improvement of depression among the respondents who were depressed at the first measurement. This association was most prominent among subjects with poor physical health. A study among proxies from deceased LASA respondents concluded that religiousness did not affect depressive mood or anxiety in the last week of life but that that religiousness, among others salience of religion supported a sense of peace, which may be a more-existential facet of mood and is discussed as relevant in the last phase of life and in palliative care (Braam et al 2011). Furthermore, Braam et al (2012) showed that among those with previous depressive symptoms in the last interview cycle (on average about two years before death), several aspects of religiousness were associated with an increased likelihood of depressed mood in the last week of life: church-attendance, (Roman Catholic) church-membership, and salience of religion (salience-according-to-proxy).  In contrast, among those without previous depressive symptoms, church-attendance, church-membership, and salience of religion (salience-according-to-proxy) were associated with a higher likelihood of a sense of peace with the approaching end of life (Braam et al. 2012).


  1. Braam AW, Beekman ATF, Deeg DJH, Smit JH, Van Tilburg W.  Religiosity as a protective or prognostic factor of depression in later life: Results from a community survey in The Netherlands. Act Psych Scand. 1997, 96, 199-205.
  2. Braam AW, Klinkenberg M, Galenkamp H, Deeg DJH. Late-Life Depressive Symptoms, Religiousness, and Mood in the Last Week of Life. Depression Research and Treatment, 2012 :754031. doi: 10.1155/2012/754031.
  3. Braam AW, Klinkenberg M, Deeg DJH. Religiousness and mood in the last week of life: an explorative approach based on after-death proxy interviews. Journal of Palliative Medicine. 2011, 14 (1), 31-37.
  4. Felling AJA, Peters J, Schreuder O. Believing and Living: A National Study Into Contents and Consequences of Religious Beliefs, Kerkebosch, Zeist, The Netherlands, 1986.
  5. Hoge De Zuluetea. Salience as a condition for various social consequences of religious commitment. J Sci Stud Relig 1985, 24: 21-38.

Date of last update: August, 2016