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Adolesc Med. 2001 Oct;12(3):509-23.

Body and spirit: Religion, spirituality, and health among adolescents.

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  • Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA.


Religion and spirituality are important in the lives of many adolescents. This article traces patterns of adolescent religious/spiritual belief and practice and summarizes theories about religious development as they pertain to this age group. Data are provided that explore possible relationships between religion and health-related behavior among adolescents. Much of this data shows that greater religiosity/spirituality may be associated with less involvement in high-risk behaviors and more involvement in health-promoting behaviors. Implications of these data are discussed as well as possible negative roles that religion may play in youths' lives. The doctor's role in approaching religion and spirituality with patients is controversial. Health care professionals should be prepared to discuss these issues with adolescents for whom they are important, especially with patients who are hospitalized. Yet, doctors should be sensitive to those adolescents who may not want to delve into spiritual/religious issues in a health care setting.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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