Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Spirituality and Healthcare


WASHINGTON: Saints and religious gurus have been saying this since ages, now a new study has reinforced their idea that spirituality improves health outcomes for both men and women facing chronic illnesses.

Researchers at the University of Missouri in the US found that being involved in religious or spiritual activities improves women's mental health, while men experience better physical health as well as improved mental health. "The new findings reinforce the idea that religion or spirituality may help buffer the negative consequences of chronic health conditions," study author Stephanie Reid-Arndt said.

Numerous previous studies have shown the positive effects of spirituality and religion on health. To delve deeper into the religion-health link, Reid-Arndt and her colleagues looked at the role of gender in using spirituality to cope with their chronic health conditions such as stroke, cancer, spinal cord injury or brain injury. For their study the researchers recruited 168 people, aged 18 and more, from an academic health center who had chronic health conditions.

After gauging each participant's level of religiousness or spirituality, the researchers measured their general mental and physical health by asking them to fill out questionnaires. Though women are stereotypically regarded as more religious than men, the researchers found no differences between two sexes in terms of self-reported levels of spiritual experiences, religious practices or congregational support.

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