Do You Believe Religion Can Influence Your Health?
Byline: Lee Bowman Scripps Howard News Service By Lee Bowman Scripps Howard News Service
Religious belief impacts human health in a variety of ways, from blood pressure to psychological well-being.
Surveys regularly show that roughly 90 percent of Americans say they believe in God or some higher power and 50 percent say religion is very important to them.
Scientists have found a variety of possible ways in which faith affects our bodies and minds, from music and ritual to greater social connection, even the ability to forgive. And some recent research suggests that how people view God and their relationship with God can make a big difference in their psychological health.
Researchers at McLean Hospital near Boston found that those who believe in a benevolent God tend to worry less and be more tolerant of uncertainties than those who view God as indifferent or punishing.
Their report, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in 2011, was based on surveys of Christians and Jews solicited through religious websites and organizations.
Researchers led by psychologist David Rosmarin said the findings are important because mental-health professionals need to consider religious attitudes in preparing treatment plans for individuals.
Scientists at Case Western University have found that many people who are deeply religious still experience anger toward God. Those feelings often coincide with deaths, illnesses, accidents or natural disasters, but can also surface in connection with personal disappointments or failures. …