Men with higher levels of sex hormones are less likely to be religious, a new study has found.
This was particularly present in older men with high levels of testosterone, said the researchers at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
Previous studies have shown that older people tend to be more religious and that being part of a religious community tends to have a positive effect on how people age.
However, this is the first study to show that there could be biological mechanisms at play behind the religious institutions people are a part of.
The research team studied data from the 2005-2006 and 2010-2011 waves of the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project.
The data collection project, conducted by the University of Chicago, examines how the physical health of older Americans is impacted by social and intimate relationships.
For this study, the team looked at data of more than 1,000 men between the ages of 57 and 85, which included information about their weights and heights as well as saliva and blood samples.
They also looked at the questionnaires the participants had answered, which asked questions such as how often they attended religious services and if they regularly interacted with a clergy member.
The analysis showed that men with higher levels of the sex hormones testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) did not have strong ties to religion.
Testosterone is primarily responsible for the development of male reproductive tissues such as the testes and prostate.
DHEA is involved in developing male characteristics, which include the production of oilier skin, changes in body odor and the growth of armpit and pubic hair.