HAROLD G. KOENIG & HARVEY JAY COHEN
On July 12, 1999, twelve of the world's leading psychoneuroimmunologists, theologians, and physicians were brought together at Duke University to review the effects of stress on the immune system and to see how this knowledge might inform us about the religion-health relationship. During the past three decades, hundreds of separate research studies conducted by different investigators studying different populations throughout the world have reported a relationship between religious involvement, better physical health, and greater longevity. Why this connection between religion and physical health exists, however, remains largely a mystery. Because of the close connection between religion and mental health and the increasingly understood connection between mental health and immune functioning, we proposed the possibility that religious involvement might affect physical health through neuroendocrine and immune mechanisms. The Duke conference, entitled Psychoneuroimmunology and the Faith Factor in Human Health, became the first attempt to address this question within the mainstream scientific community.
Who should read this book? Scientists and academic researchers will find here a gold mine of ideas and possible projects, as well as a wealth of information about study methodologies and research instruments. Educators will discover plentiful information to update their students about the newest advances in psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) and to stimulate thinking about how religious beliefs and practices might influence health through known physiological mechanisms. They will also find here thoughtful discussions by eminent theologians and sociologists about the religious and societal implications of such research. Students will learn how