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Gerontologist. 2013 Dec;53(6):898-906. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnt002. Epub 2013 Feb 26.

Why gerontologists should care about empirical research on religion and health: transdisciplinary perspectives.

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*Address correspondence to Harold G. Koenig, Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health, Box 3400, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710. E-mail:


A large volume of empirical research has accumulated on the relationship between religion/spirituality (R/S) and health since the year 2000, much of it involving older adults. The purpose of this article is to discuss how this body of existing research findings has important messages or important new insights for gerontologists; clinicians in medicine, psychiatry, and psychology; sociologists; and theologians. In other words, what contributions do the research findings on R/S and health make to these disciplines? In this article, experts from each of the aforementioned disciplines discuss what contributions this research can make to their own area of study and expertise. Besides emphasizing the broad relevance of research on R/S and health to many clinical and academic audiences in gerontology (i.e., addressing the "so what" question), this discussion provides clues about where R/S research might focus on in the future.


Aging; Health; Religion; Research; Spirituality; Transdisciplinary

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