Background: Research has found that physical health decline in later life is associated with poor psychological well-being. This study aimed to examine the possible moderating effect of Islamic religiosity on the relationship between chronic medical conditions and psychological well-being.
Methods: The sample for this study consisted of 1415 elderly Malay Muslims. It was obtained from a cross-sectional survey entitled ‘Patterns of Social Relationship and Psychological Well-Being among Older Persons in Peninsular Malaysia’, which conducted from 2007 to 2009, using a multistage stratified sampling procedure. Data collection was performed through face-to-face interviews. A four-step moderated hierarchical regression analysis using SPSS software for Windows and the ‘ModGraph-2’ software program was used to test the hypothesis.
Results: Results of bivariate analysis showed, at certain levels of chronic medical conditions, older persons with a high level of religiosity reported significantly higher levels of psychological well-being compared to their counterparts with a low level of religiosity. Four-step moderated hierarchical regression analysis revealed that the negative effect of chronic medical conditions on psychological well-being is reduced by both personal and social religiosity (β= 0.07, P≤ 0.01), after controlling for selected sociodemographic factors.
Conclusion: Taken together, these findings indicate that the depressogenic effect of physical illness is decreased by religiosity in chronically ill elderly people. The implications and limitations of the current study are discussed and recommendations for future research are proposed.