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J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Mar;14(2):163-5. doi: 10.1089/acm.2007.0675.

A preliminary study of the acute effects of religious ritual on anxiety.

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1
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Various rituals have been shown to have both psychologic as well as physical effects. However, many rituals have multiple components that can account for such effects. Few studies have distinguished between the effects of ritual and those related specifically to religious content and teachings.

OBJECTIVES:

The present study investigated the acute effects of the ritual of reciting the Rosary, which contains relatively little specific religious content compared to receiving specific teaching of religious concepts, on the level of anxiety.

METHODS:

We studied 30 students in a Catholic college divided into two intervention groups. Twelve (12) students participated in recitation of the Rosary, whereas 18 students viewed a religiously oriented video. Both groups were measured for anxiety pre- and postintervention through the use of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory.

RESULTS:

A significant reduction in anxiety was observed in subjects reciting the Rosary compared to the group of subjects watching the video.

CONCLUSIONS:

These preliminary results suggest that ritual itself may be a significant contributor to the effects of religious practices on psychologic well-being.

PMID:
18307389
DOI:
10.1089/acm.2007.0675
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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