Objective: To verify the association between religiosity and functional capacity in the elderly. Method: a systematic review of literature in the SciELO, Lilacs, MEDLINE/ PubMed and the portal of CAPES Journals databases was performed. The descriptors were selected through the list of Descriptors in Health Sciences (Decs) and Medical Subject Headings (Mesh). Original articles in Portuguese and English, published between 2007 and 2017, with a sample composed of elderly persons aged 60 years or more were included. Systematic or integrative reviews, case studies, scale validation studies, dissertations and theses and studies on religious social support were excluded, as well as articles that included elderly persons and adults in the sample. Result: 280 articles were identified, of which six were included in this review. Religiosity was associated with improved functional capacity and coping with disability and the delay of functional decline in the elderly. Different aspects of religiosity were associated with functional capacity, such as participation in religious activities, religious leadership role performance and religious beliefs and traditions. In three articles the positive association between religiosity and functional capacity was linked only to public religious activities and not to intrinsic religious practices. Conclusion: religiosity is significantly and positively associated with the functional capacity of the elderly. The association between intrinsic religiosity and functional capacity is still unclear.
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