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Disabil Rehabil. 2004 Apr 22;26(8):455-62.

Religious views of the 'medical' rehabilitation model: a pilot qualitative study.

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  • 1BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, UK.



To explore the religious beliefs that patients may bring to the rehabilitation process, and the hypothesis that these beliefs may diverge from the medical model of rehabilitation.


Qualitative semi-structured interviews with representatives of six major religions--Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, and Hinduism. Representatives were either health care professionals or religious leaders, all with an interest in how their religion approached health issues.


There were three recurrent themes in the interviews: religious explanations for injury and illness; beliefs about recovery; religious duties of care towards family members. The Buddhist, Sikh, and Hindu interviewees described beliefs about karma--unfortunate events happening due to a person's former deeds. Fatalistic ideas, involving God having control over an individual's recovery, were expressed by the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian interviewees. All interviewees expressed the fundamental importance of a family's religious duty of care towards ill or injured relatives, and all expressed some views that were compatible with the medical model of rehabilitation.


Religious beliefs may both diverge from and resonate with the medical rehabilitation model. Understanding these beliefs may be valuable in facilitating the rehabilitation of diverse religious groups.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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