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Med J Aust. 2007 May 21;186(10 Suppl):S47-50.

Spirituality, religion and health: evidence and research directions.

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  • 1Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. dwilliam@hsph.harvard.edu

Abstract

Levels of spirituality and religious beliefs and behaviour are relatively high in Australia, although lower than those in the United States. There is mounting scientific evidence of a positive association between religious involvement and multiple indicators of health. The strongest evidence exists for the association between religious attendance and mortality, with higher levels of attendance predictive of a strong, consistent and often graded reduction in mortality risk. Negative effects of religion on health have also been documented for some aspects of religious beliefs and behaviour and under certain conditions. Health practices and social ties are important pathways by which religion can affect health. Other potential pathways include the provision of systems of meaning and feelings of strength to cope with stress and adversity.

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PMID:
17516883
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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