Dr. Baldwin Way, an associate professor of psychology at Ohio State who co-authored the study, agreed.
"We found that volunteerism and involvement in social organisations only accounted for a little less than one year of the longevity boost that religious affiliation provided", Wallace said.
Ohio State University researchers looked at obituaries around the country and found people affiliated with a religion lived almost 4 years longer than those without ties.
In this study, people whose obits mentioned a religious affiliation lived an average of 5.64 years longer than those whose obits did not, which shrunk to 3.82 years after gender and marital status were considered.
More than 1,000 obituaries from newspapers in 42 states were analysed.
While they did play a part, the researchers behind the study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science believe they weren't the only factors.
Being religious elongates life span than atheists, indicates a recent nationwide research.
"Religious affiliation had almost as strong an effect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life", said Laura Wallace, a doctoral student at The Ohio State University in the US.
Other possible factors that help religious people live longer include peer pressure to live healthier lifestyles, abstinence from unhealthy habits such as drinking and drugs, and stress-reduction activities such as meditation, yoga, and of course, prayer.
One reason for this effect may be attributed to increased opportunities to build social networks and join volunteer organizations, as suggested by previous research.
Overall, the study provided additional support to the growing number of studies showing that religion does have a positive effect on health, Wallace said.
The researchers acknowledged their study was limited by the fact it could not control race and lifestyle choices, which are important factors for longevity. Drinking alcohol has also been linked to a reduced risk of early death, but the risks may outweigh the benefits.