Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Most Physicians Believe That Religion Influences Patients' Health

Date:
April 10, 2007
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
More than half of physicians believe that religion and spirituality have a significant influence on patients' health, according to a recent report. Physicians who are most religious are more likely to interpret the influence of religion and spirituality in positive ways.

More than half of physicians believe that religion and spirituality have a significant influence on patients' health, according to a report in the April 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Physicians who are most religious are more likely to interpret the influence of religion and spirituality in positive ways.

The relationship between religion and health generates controversy in the medical world, according to background information in the article. "Consensus seems to begin and end with the idea that many (if not most) patients draw on prayer and other religious resources to navigate and overcome the spiritual challenges that arise in their experiences of illness," the authors note. "Controversy remains regarding whether, to what extent and in what ways religion and spirituality helps or harms patients' health."

Farr A. Curlin, M.D., and colleagues at the University of Chicago mailed a survey in 2003 to a random sample of 2,000 practicing U.S. physicians 65 years or younger from all specialties. The survey included questions to determine physicians' religious characteristics, general observations and interpretations of religion and spirituality and potential positive and negative influences of religion and spirituality.

The response rate was 63 percent (1,144 of 1,820) and the average age for respondents was 49. According to the study, two-thirds of U.S. physicians believe that experiencing illness often or always increases patients' awareness of religion and spirituality issues. A majority of physicians (56 percent) think that religion and spirituality has much or very much influence on health and 54 percent believe that at times a supernatural being intervenes. The majority of physicians (85 percent) believe that the influence of religion and spirituality is generally positive, but few (6 percent) feel that religion and spirituality changes medical outcomes.

The study also found that 76 percent of physicians believe that religion and spirituality helps patients cope, 74 percent believe that it gives patients a positive state of mind and 55 percent report that it provides emotional and practical support through religious community. Few physicians (7 percent) believe that religion and spirituality often causes negative emotions such as guilt and anxiety, 2 percent think it leads patients to decline medical therapy and 4 percent report that patients use it to avoid taking responsibility for their health, but about one-third believe it has these harmful influences sometimes.

Physicians' observations and interpretations are strongly influenced by their religious beliefs, according to the authors. "Physicians with higher intrinsic religiosity are much more likely to (1) report that their patients bring up religion and spirituality issues, (2) believe that religion and spirituality strongly influences health and (3) interpret the influence of religion and spirituality in positive rather than negative ways."

These findings lend support to recommendations that physicians recognize how their own beliefs influence how they provide care, the authors note. "Physicians' notions about the relationship between religion and spirituality and patients' health are strongly associated with physicians' own religious characteristics," they conclude. "Future studies should examine the ways physicians' religious (and secular) commitments shape their clinical engagements in these and other domains."

This study was funded by a grant from the Greenwall Foundation and by the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program. Dr. Curlin is also supported by a grant from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Most Physicians Believe That Religion Influences Patients' Health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070409164931.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2007, April 10). Most Physicians Believe That Religion Influences Patients' Health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070409164931.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Most Physicians Believe That Religion Influences Patients' Health." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070409164931.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins