Chapter

On the links between religion and health: what has empirical research taught us?

Hisham Abu-Raiya and Kenneth I. Pargament

in Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199571390
Published online August 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199665037 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199571390.003.0045

Series: Oxford Textbook in Public Health

On the links between religion and health: what has empirical research taught us?

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  • Palliative Medicine

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Before the 1990s, the relationship between religion and health was for the most part a neglected area of research: researchers often buried religious variables in the methods and results sections of their studies. In the last two decades, this picture has changed dramatically — a considerable body of research has emerged regarding the relationship between religion and health. These studies have led to some important insights into the links between religious beliefs and practices, and the wellbeing of the individual. These ties between religion and health outcomes are the focus of this chapter. We start by referring to issues of definition and measurement of religion. Then, we summarize the important findings on the relationship between religion, health and wellbeing that has emerged from research in four main areas: religious involvement, religious motivation, religion and prejudice, and religious coping. We conclude by pointing to some of the limitations of this body of research and suggesting directions for research that might further advance the empirically-based psychology of religion and spirituality.

Chapter.  7149 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Palliative Medicine

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