Journal of Religion and Health

Published by Springer Nature
Online ISSN: 1573-6571
Print ISSN: 0022-4197
Learn more about this page
Recent publications
  • Michael Galvin
    Michael Galvin
  • Lesley Chiwaye
    Lesley Chiwaye
  • Aneesa Moolla
    Aneesa Moolla
Religion and spirituality are powerful social forces in contemporary South Africa. Traditional Health Practitioners (THPs) are commonly consulted for both spiritual and medical ailments as a first line of care. Many studies have assessed African traditional health seeking behaviors but few have examined beliefs, practices, and behaviors of THPs themselves. This study sought to explore spiritual worldviews among South African THPs. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 18 THPs in Johannesburg, South Africa between January and May, 2022. Interviews were transcribed and translated into English. Data were managed using NVivo 12 software and thematically analyzed. The majority of THPs interviewed indicated that initiation as a THP was almost always preceded by a sickness accompanied by dreams/visions that represented an “ancestral calling” to become a healer. Most THPs also trained as both sangomas—who healed according to traditional beliefs—and prophets—who healed according to Christian beliefs. This reflects a syncretic relationship between traditional African beliefs and Christianity. However, not all churches are accepting of traditional beliefs and subsequently these THPs are members only at non-Pentecostal AIC churches who blend both African and Christian practices. Similar to these forms of religious pluralism melding Christianity and traditional beliefs, many THPs also often practice medical pluralism, mixing Western treatments with traditional practices/medicines. THPs are able to adapt elements of Western and African beliefs into healing practices that span multiple religious and medical fields. Thus, collaborative and decentralized healthcare services may be highly acceptable among such a pluralistic community.
  • Dilkush Shaheen Butt
    Dilkush Shaheen Butt
  • Asma Majeed
    Asma Majeed
  • Rabia Khawar
    Rabia Khawar
  • [...]
  • Samavia Hussain
    Samavia Hussain
This study investigated the relationship between personality traits, religiosity and satisfaction with life in young Muslim and Christian women. The current research involved a convenience sample (N = 200; Mage = 21.26) that was drawn from Kinnaird College for Women University Lahore, and Youhanabad Town Lahore, Pakistan. The Big Five Inventory, Centrality of Religiosity Scale, and the Satisfaction with Life Scale were administered. Results of correlation analysis demonstrated a significant positive relationship between ‘conscientiousness’ and ‘religious ideology’ among Muslim women, whereas ‘openness’ and ‘agreeableness’ were strongly associated with all the dimensions of religiosity in Christian women. Findings of hierarchical linear regression analyses indicated that extraversion and agreeableness significantly predicted life satisfaction among Muslim and Christian participants respectively. Religiosity did not contribute to life satisfaction among both groups. Results of independent sample t-test showed that Christian women reported significantly higher degrees of extraversion and life satisfaction as compared to Muslim women who in contrast reported significantly higher level of agreeableness, neuroticism, and public religious practice. The findings are discussed in the context of gender, religion, culture and mental health.
  • Medine Koç
    Medine Koç
  • Tuba Sarı
    Tuba Sarı
  • Büşra Altıntaş
    Büşra Altıntaş
  • [...]
  • Nermin Gürhan
    Nermin Gürhan
Spirituality is seen as a coping strategy for reducing stress and anxiety. This research aimed to investigate the relationship between COVID-19 anxiety and the spiritual orientation of individuals aged 65 and over in nursing homes and elderly care centers during the COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey. The findings showed that with increasing age, coronavirus anxiety levels decrease, and spiritual orientation increases. There was a negative relationship between the time of diagnosis of COVID-19 and coronavirus anxiety (r = − .48; p = 0.01). Those diagnosed with COVID-19 had higher coronavirus anxiety levels (U = 374.5; p < 0.001) and had lower spiritual orientation (U = 593.5; p > 0.05). As spiritual orientation increases in elderly individuals, their level of anxiety decreases.
  • Rukiye Burucu
    Rukiye Burucu
  • Canan Güngör
    Canan Güngör
The aim of the study is the determination of factors affecting the moral well-being of individuals with type 2 diabetes, their foot care behaviors, and the relationship between their spiritual well-being and foot care behaviors. This is a descriptive and relationship-seeking study. The population of the study was comprised of patients with type 2 diabetes who continued their treatment in the same hospital. The sample group consisted of 157 people determined by power analysis (0.05 margin of error, 0.85 power, and 0.447 effect size). For data collection, the Participant Information Form, Spiritual Well-being Scale, and the Foot Care Behavior Scale were used. The mean age of the participants was 59.50 ± 4.858, the body cure index was 29.97 ± 4.233, the foot care awareness score was 51.04 ± 9.884, and the spiritual well-being score was 19.44 ± 7.423. The spiritual well-being subdimension scores were as follows: meaning: 5.17 ± 3.226, belief: 9.79 ± 4.277, and peace and tranquility: 4.48 ± 2.608. Foot care awareness and spiritual well-being scores of the patients were moderate. Individuals' awareness of foot care is affected by their willingness to use medication and to receive education about diabetes; while the income level affects their moral well-being. There is a weak and positive relationship between the two scale scores. It would be appropriate to address the patients spiritually and to provide care with an integrated understanding of care. The adoption of foot care by nurses will make nursing more visible and will be effective for the protection of public health.
Vaccine hesitancy is gaining attention due to the increasing spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia. Malaysia is a majority Muslim country and religion has a significant influence on the acceptance or rejection of vaccines. This is clearly seen through the disagreement over the halal status of vaccines. Social media has become a platform for discussion and dissemination of information and dis-information on vaccines. Thus, it has had a relatively significant influence on vaccine hesitancy among social media users. By analysing tweets from February 2020 to February 2021 using Twitter API, this paper highlights the discussion of COVID-19 vaccines’ halal status on Twitter. This study focuses on the analysis of vaccination reluctancy among the Twitter users in Malaysia and found that the most prevalent theme from the discussion is the constructed religious narratives to justify scientifically misleading and false claims concerning vaccination represented on social media. This finding also calls for a deeper understanding of society’s constructed knowledge concerning contemporary issues in the digital age on social media.
Aging causes the reduction in physical and physiological strength and an increase in the odds of afiction with chronic physical and mental diseases ultimately afecting the quality of life (QoL). So far, several primary studies have been conducted on the impact of religious-spiritual education and care on the QoL of the elderly. However, to the best of our knowledge, a study that compiles and represents these fndings in a published paper is lacking. Therefore, the current study conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the efect of religious-spiritual education and care on the QoL of the elderly population. To access studies related to the aim of the study, SID, MagIran, IranMedex, IranDoc, Embase, PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar databases were searched. The search was done using relevant and validated keywords with MeSH/Emtree without time limitations until December 2021. The qualitative appraisal of the papers was done using the JBI checklist. To estimate the heterogeneity of studies, I 2 index was used, and to combine the data and carry out a meta-analysis, Random Efects model was used. In the primary research, 1065 studies were found. The omission of the redundant cases led to a total number of 12 papers with a sample size of 317 in the intervention group and 321 in the control to be included in the meta-analysis. After the intervention, the mean score of QoL showed a signifcant increase by 1.42 ± 0.31 with a Confdence Interval of 95% (P<0.001). Meta-regression results showed that the increase in the year of conducting the study, and the number of intervention sessions, that the standardized mean diference had a decreasing trend, and that with the increase in the average age of the elderly, there was a rising trend (P<0.001). Therefore, it seems that the application of religious-spiritual education and care could be part of a program to improve the QoL of the elderly.
The integrated relationship between meditation, mindfulness, and MRMP (‘Khushoo’)
Stages of scale development and evaluation. MRMP measure of reverence in Muslim praying, EFA exploratory factor analysis, CFA confirmatory factor analysis
Many Muslims complain of straying while praying because of life’s problems and psychological pressures (i.e., reflecting on topics other than prayer). To assess this problem, it was necessary to develop a measure of reverence in Muslim praying (MRMP). The study aimed to collect items from the theoretical literature and investigate these to determine the validity of the content by consultation with a group of experts (n = 17), after which the number of items was reduced to 39. The study focused on two random and completely different samples. The first sample (n = 396) was used to verify the validity of exploratory factor analysis (EFA). The results showed that the following four factors explain 67.27% of the variance in the total scale: groveling, focused attention, contemplation, and praying behavior control. The second sample (n = 362) was used to verify the confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) as well as the convergent validity and reliability of the data. Additionally, the four factors were confirmed using bifactor confirmatory factor analysis (B-CFA) and met the criteria for fitness. Likewise, all correlation values between the MRMP and mental health, mindfulness, happiness, and well-being were significant. In addition, the Cronbach’s alpha coefficients of the four factors ranged between 0.85 and 0.77 and the total score was 0.92. Finally, the correlations between the MRMP and the four factors were significant. The study concluded that the MRMP is appropriate for assessing reverence in Muslim praying, can be used to promote psychological health in the context of prayers, and can serve as a foundation for future research.
This study examined the psychological well-being (PWB) and spiritual well-being (SWB) of older adult individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who experienced the difficulties of both aging and RA. This descriptive and cross-sectional study was conducted in two centers located in the capital city of Turkey. A total of 136 individuals with a diagnosis of RA who met the inclusion criteria constituted the sample group of the study. Participant Information Form, SWB, and PWB Scales were used for data collection. The results showed that participants' PWB score was positively and significantly difference with marital status, presence of children, and regular participation in social activities. It was concluded that pain severity was not significantly difference with PWB and SWB. However, there was a significant negative correlation between PWB score and total SWB score and its two sub-dimensions, transcendence and anomie. Results emphasize the necessity of supportive interventions to increase psychological and spiritual well-being of older adult individuals with RA.
Conceptual framework of the present study
Path model of the present study
Tawakkul in Islam is defined as the belief in the sufficiency of Allah (God) that invokes patience and efforts to achieve goals while accepting the outcomes unconditionally. The present research intended to investigate the mediating role of tawakkul between personality traits and mental health (anxiety and depression) in a purposive sample of (N = 350) Muslim adults. Urdu versions of three instruments, namely the Tawakkul Scale (Gondal, et al., 2021), Depression, Anxiety Stress Scale of (DASS 21; Aslam, 2018), and Neuroticism-Extraversion-Openness Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI; Chishti & Kamal, 2002), were used to measure the variables. Path analysis revealed that extraversion had no association with tawakkul and anxiety, but it was inversely related to depression. Neuroticism was inversely related to tawakkul and positively related to both depression and anxiety, and these relationships were partially mediated by a low degree of tawakkul. Implications of the study and recommendations for future research are discussed.
This article reports findings from a qualitative study of New York City faith leaders’ efforts to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their communities during the first two years of the pandemic. Faith leaders were recruited via reputational case sampling to participate in individual, key informant interviews. This study used a social-contextual approach to health promotion by exploring the influence of faith leaders and religious communities on health behaviors. Results suggest that engaged faith leaders worked individually and collaboratively to support the changing physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of their religious communities and those in the surrounding area. This study highlights the importance of faith leaders as supporters, communicators, and advocates, and provides directions for future research on the impact of faith leaders on individuals’ experiences and health behaviors during a pandemic.
Model summary and cluster quality
Cluster Size and predictor importance
Cluster rates and application frequency of menstrual myth
This study aimed to determine health, nutrition, religious beliefs, hygiene, and beliefs concerning menstruation of women aged between 18 and 49 years. This research was conducted as a descriptive study in primary health centers in one province in eastern Turkey between 2017 and 2019. The study sample consisted of 742 women. In the research, a questionnaire form that included the sociodemographic characteristics of the women and their thoughts regarding beliefs about their menstrual period was used. The biggest myth about food preparation was that 22% of the women believed that they will spoil food if they are involved in the food canning process while menstruating. The greatest menstrual beliefs about religious belief were that 96.1% of the women felt that it was wrong to have sexual intercourse while menstruating. The biggest beliefs about social life were that 26.5% of the women felt that they cannot have blood drawn while menstruating. The biggest beliefs about cleanliness were 89.8% of the women stated that it was necessary to take a bath at the end of menstruation. Generally, of all menstrual beliefs, opening pickles was highest among all groups. Notably, the second cluster, with a low value for kneading dough and shaving the genital area, showed a better cluster structure.
Individuals may develop different attitudes on bioethics in general and reproductive ethics in particular, due to the effects of different sociocultural environments. Individuals' attitudes toward surrogacy are affected positively or negatively depending on religious and cultural environments. This study was conducted to determine and compare the attitudes of different religions toward surrogacy. This study is cross-sectional and collected from individuals living in Turkey, India, Iran, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Madagascar, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Mexico, England, and Japan between May 2022 and December 2022. The study was conducted with individuals belonging to Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Atheism. The study was conducted with 1177 individuals from different religions who agreed to participate in the study by snowball sampling method. The introductory Information Form and "Attitude Questionnaire Toward Surrogacy" were used as data collection tools. R programming language 4.1.3 was used for regression analysis with machine learning approach and artificial neural networks, and SPSS-25 was used for other statistical analyses. There was a significant difference between the total mean score of the individuals' Attitudes toward Surrogacy Questionnaire and their religious beliefs (p < 0.05). When the results of the analysis of the regression model with the dummy variable, which was carried out with the aim of revealing the effects of religious belief on the attitude toward surrogacy, are examined, statistical estimates of the regression model show that the model is significant and usable F(4,1172) = 5.005, p = 0.001). It explains 1.7% of the total variance of the level of religious belief's attitude toward surrogacy. In the regression model, when the t-test results regarding the significance of the regression coefficient are examined, among the participants, it was determined that the mean score of those who believed in Islam (t = − 3.827, p < 0.001) and those who believed in Christianity (t = − 2.548, p < 0.001) was lower than the mean score of those who believed in Hinduism (Constant) (p < 0.05). Individuals' attitudes toward surrogacy differ according to their religion. The best performing algorithm for the prediction model was random forest (RF) regression. The contributions of the variables to the model were calculated with Shapley values (Shapley Additive Explanations (SHAP)). The SHAP values of the variables in the best performing model were examined to avoid bias in terms of comparison in the performance criterion. SHAP values (Shapley Additive Explanations) show the contribution or importance of each variable in the estimation of the model. It is determined that the most important variable that should be in the model to predict the Attitude Toward Surrogacy Survey variable is the Nationality variable. It is recommended that studies on attitudes toward surrogacy should be conducted by taking religious and cultural values into consideration.
This study explores the relationship between spirituality and hope levels in lung cancer patients. Cancer patients often use their spirituality as a way of coping. Among a sample of 124 Turkish lung cancer patients, spirituality levels were assessed using the Spiritual Orientation Scale (SOS) and hope levels were measured using the Herth Hope Scale (HHS). Spirituality and hope levels in Turkish lung cancer patients were found to be above average. While no significant effect of demographic and disease-related variables was detected on spirituality and hope levels, spirituality and hope were found to be positively correlated in Turkish lung cancer patients.
Maternal psychological distress is often associated with domestic violence. Spiritual well-being can affect the psychological capacity to deal with distress. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between psychological distress and spiritual well-being in pregnant women exposed to domestic violence. This cross-sectional study was conducted on 305 pregnant women subjected to domestic violence in southern Iran. The participants were selected using the census method. Data were collected using the Spiritual Well-being Scale (SWB), the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10), and the Hurt, Insult, Threaten, Scream (HITS) screening tool (short form) and were analyzed with descriptive and inferential statistics (t-test, ANOVA, the Spearman correlation coefficient, and multiple linear regression) in SPSS software version 24. The mean scores ± standard deviation of the participants’ psychological distress, spiritual well-being, and domestic violence were 24.68 ± 6.43, 79.89 ± 18.98, and 11.24 ± 1.5, respectively. The results showed that psychological distress had a significant negative correlation with spiritual well-being (ρ = − 0.84, P < 0.001) and domestic violence (ρ = − 0.73, P < 0.001). The results of the multiple linear regression analysis also showed that spiritual well-being and domestic violence could predict the psychological distress of pregnant women who were exposed to domestic violence, which explained 73% of the psychological distress in the participants. According to the study results, spiritually oriented education can be provided for women to reduce their psychological distress. Also, it is recommended that necessary interventions be used to reduce domestic violence and empower women to prevent it.
Spiritual well-being is considered a significant factor in helping to manage chronic diseases and cope with the disease process. This descriptive-correlational study aimed to investigate the relationship between spiritual well-being, diabetes burden, self-management, and among 300 outpatients with type 2 diabetes in Turkey. A significant relationship was found between the diabetes burden and self-management levels and the spiritual well-being of patients with diabetes (p < 0.005). Multiple linear regression analyses found that a high diabetes burden (ß = −0.106) decreased well-being, and high self-management increased well-being (ß = 0.415). Additionally , the results revealed that marital status, household members, performing daily life activities alone, hospitalization due to complications, diabetes burden, self-management, glycemic control, and blood lipid parameters explained 29% of the total variance in the spiritual well-being level. Accordingly, the present study recommended that health professionals should consider spiritual well-being to support disease management with a holistic approach to diabetes patients.
Numbers of abortions performed due to a diagnosis of an abnormal fetus found on invasive prenatal tests, secular versus religious Muslim women
Number of Muslim women living in villages versus cities who consult with a religious authority
Number of Muslim women, secular versus religious, living in cities, who receive social support from their husbands, families and close friends
Our goal was to determine if differences exist in the attitudes of religious Muslim women living in Israel toward prenatal testing and pregnancy termination after undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) compared to the secular Muslim women who had undergone IVF. Six hundred and ninety-nine Muslim women from cities and villages participated, 47% city-dwellers; 53% village-dwellers; 50%-secular; 50%-religious. Secular women who had undergone IVF performed more invasive tests and terminated more pregnancies due to an abnormal fetus than religious women. More genetic counseling must be provided explaining the different prenatal tests and the problems in raising an abnormal child.
Religion and spirituality have been key coping mechanisms of Pakistani Muslims amidst natural calamities such as the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed to identify and explore the role of religion and spirituality in the recovery of COVID-19 patients in lower socioeconomics. The data for this qualitative research study were collected from 13 people in Pakistan who survived COVID-19 infection during the wave of the Omicron variant. The participants of this study referenced four key themes about their story of getting infected by COVID-19 and recovering from it and referenced religion and spirituality as an overarching aspect of that story. The patients who recovered believed that COVID-19 was a punishment from God for sinful humanity, which was unavoidable. Amidst such a belief, the studied patients tried to avoid hospitalization but prayed to God for mercy, forgiveness, and help in their recovery. A few who took medical treatment also established and/or strengthened their spiritual connections seeking quick recovery from the infection. The participants of this study believed that their religion or spirituality played a medicinal role in their recovery from COVID-19 infection.
Spiritual well-being is considered a signifcant factor in helping to manage chronic diseases and cope with the disease process. This descriptive-correlational study aimed to investigate the relationship between spiritual well-being, diabetes burden, self-management, and among 300 outpatients with type 2 diabetes in Turkey. A signifcant relationship was found between the diabetes burden and self management levels and the spiritual well-being of patients with diabetes (p<0.005). Multiple linear regression analyses found that a high diabetes burden (ß=−0.106) decreased well-being, and high self-management increased well-being (ß=0.415). Additionally, the results revealed that marital status, household members, performing daily life activities alone, hospitalization due to complications, diabetes burden, self-management, glycemic control, and blood lipid parameters explained 29% of the total variance in the spiritual well-being level. Accordingly, the present study recommended that health professionals should consider spiritual well-being to support disease management with a holistic approach to diabetes patients.
Article available Open Access: This second issue of JORH for 2023 considers research relating to (1) pediatrics, (2) students, (3) various allied health professions and their related practices, and lastly, (4) COVID-19. An additional reminder is also provided to readers on the call for papers regarding a future issue on “Religion, Spirituality, Suicide, and its Prevention”, as well as a new call for papers with respect to “Spiritual Care for People with Parkinson’s Disease and their Caregivers”.
Oil on canvas painted by Abrahm Herz on the 21st of February 1590 representing the ailing priest of Viechtwang, Stephan Schätzl, 6 days before his death. The portrait is housed in Kremsmünster Abbey’s repository (Austria) (Credits: Judith Wimmer)
“Christ as a man of sorrows”, Lucas Cranach, ca. 1540, oil on beechwood (Credits: Sotheby’s New York, 31 January 2013, lot 64, public domain)
A necklace made of red coral beads similar to the one worn by Father Schätzl can be appreciated in the painting “Madonna di Senigallia” (ca 1474), oil and tempera on panel (61 × 53 cm) by Piero della Francesca (ca. 1412–1492) housed at Museo Nazionale di Urbino, Italy. Public domain
Stephan Schätzl was the parish priest of Viechtwang, Upper Austria. He lived in the aftermath of the Peace of Augsburg in a period of schism between Roman Catholics and Lutherans. His portrait, depicted only 6 days before his demise in 1590, shows that he had extreme ante mortem cachexia. Documentary sources detailed his life and ill-health and it is proposed that he had chronic gastro-duodenal ulcerative disease which ultimately led his to death.
Association between interpersonal conflict at work and job satisfaction by levels of divine struggles. Notes: The lines represent predicted values of job satisfaction while statistically controlling for all other variables in Model 2 of Table 4
The purpose of this study is to examine how divine struggles moderate the association between interpersonal workplace conflict and worker well-being in Singapore. Using data from the Work, Religion, and Health survey (2021), the analyses show that interpersonal workplace conflict is positively associated with psychological distress and negatively associated with job satisfaction. Although divine struggles fail to function as a moderator in the former, these moderate its association in the latter. Specifically, the negative association between interpersonal conflict at work and job satisfaction is stronger for those with higher levels of divine struggles. These findings support the idea of stress amplification, indicating that troubled relationships with God may exacerbate the deleterious psychological effects of antagonistic interpersonal relationships at work. Ramifications of this aspect of religion, job stressor, and worker well-being will be discussed.
Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses flowchart
Reporting quality of SWBS validity studies as per as modified STARD (A) and QUADAS-2 (B). Nb. Criteria that are “unclear” or not reported, “No,” introduce a risk of bias
Since spiritual well-being has a significant role in individual and social health, using a valid scale to identify these properties is essential. Comparing factor structure and differences in the number of dimensions and items of subscales could be an indicator of differences in individuals' attitudes toward spirituality among diverse cultures. The present review was performed for psychometric evaluation of the spiritual well-being measures. A systematic review of international databases and Iranian databases was conducted to evaluate studies published between January 1, 1970, and October 1, 2022. QUADAS-2, STARD, and COSMIN scales were used for risk of bias assessment. Following two rounds of screening, 14 articles entered quality assessment. According to the results, studies examining the factor structure of the spiritual well-being scale (SWBS) instrument have been conducted for the years 1998 to 2022. The mean age of the participants in these studies ranged from 20.8 to 79.08 years. During the process of exploratory factor analysis, the researchers reported the presence of two to five latent factors, and the range of explained variance was between 35.6 and 71.4%. However, most of the reports indicated the existence of two or three latent factors. The findings of the present study provide an image of the psychometric status of the SWBS for researchers and clinicians in this field and can help them make optimum decisions in selecting a scale or conducting additional psychometric studies or adopting this scale for studies in new populations.
Weighted Descriptive Statistics (CHAPS 2021)
Weighted Regressions of Religious Struggles, Anger, and Psychological Distress (CHAPS 2021)
Over the past two decades, numerous studies have linked the subjective experience of neighborhood disorder (perceptions of crime, dilapidation, and ambient strains) with poorer health. We test whether religious struggles (religious doubts and feeling abandoned or punished by God) mediate this association. Our counterfactual mediation analyses of data from the 2021 Crime, Health, and Politics Survey (CHAPS) (n = 1,741) revealed consistent indirect effects of neighborhood disorder through religious struggles for anger, psychological distress, sleep disturbance, poorer self-rated health, and shorter subjective life expectancy. This study contributes to previous work by integrating the study of neighborhood context and religion.
Votive plaque with two breasts and an uncertain object. (Authors do not need permission since the figure is available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee, under Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, as verifiable at
Votive silver plaque showing a breast (The authors have the permission to publish the image by the first author, who holds the copyright, as it is an object of his personal collection)
A votive offering or ex-voto includes a variety of usually non-professional artworks offered to divinities and placed in religious sites to fulfill a vow or in gratitude for recovery from an illness or injury. Unfortunately, the ancient period lacks a scientifically verifiable understanding of the true nature of cancer and its natural history and, consequently, a lack of effective treatment. This paper discusses two ex-votos potentially related to breast cancer distant more than 2000 years, one from the other. The ex-votos convey the complex relationship of humans with illness through an art expression stemming from the heart and minds of ordinary people.
Visual summary of significant associations shown in Table 4
In the southern USA, where religiosity is higher than in other parts of the country, many researchers have questioned if the religiosity of parents plays a role in emerging adults’ risky sexual behavior (RSB). Specifically, research suggests that certain aspects of religiosity (i.e., conservatism) are especially detrimental when examining RSB. In the current study, college students (N = 585, 65.5% women, 69.2% White, 25.0% Black) completed the following self-report measures: the Stearns-McKinney Assessment of Religious Traits – Short Form, the Parental Environment Questionnaire, and the Student Sexual Risks Scale. Results of path analysis (reported statistics have p < .05) indicated that perceived maternal relationship quality had a significant negative association with RSB in emerging adult women, β = −.27, and men, β = −.20; perceived paternal relationship quality also associated negatively with RSB in women, β = −.12, and men, β = −.20. Of all the parental religiosity variables, only perceived maternal conservatism had a significant effect, where it demonstrated a positive association with RSB in women, β = .34, and men, β = −.20. These results suggest that perceived parent–child relationship quality and perceived maternal conservative religiosity influence emerging adult RSB. This study presents novel insight into the specific aspects of perceived parental religiosity that, at least in the current study, are found to influence RSB.
Religious-based modesty requirements can complicate women’s attempts to engage in physical activity. The growing interest in online discussion forums focusing on modest dress showcases an emerging demand for athletic apparel that meets the modesty requirements of women from Muslim, Orthodox Jewish, LDS/Mormon and Evangelical Christian backgrounds. A thematic analysis was conducted on the forum posts. Findings include the use of apparel for women seeking help with physical activity without violating their modesty standards; using modest apparel as a tool for maintaining an identity as a person of faith, and health-seeking behavior as a legitimate way to question religious protocol.
Although the narrative of modernity has been rejected by numerous scientists, it remains a powerful paradigm. Several Western countries have, during the COVID-19 pandemic, witnessed renewed interest in some archaic practices and beliefs. Based mostly on media analysis, this paper provides an insight into religious responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in Slovakia and India, two completely different cultural areas. Simultaneously, it challenges the self-identification of the West as the epicentre of rational thought, in contrast to the so-called non-Western world. The self-image of superiority adopted by the modern West in terms of religious relevance has proved to be distorted, as the tendency to turn to spiritual practices in times of crisis is not exclusively a feature of non-Western societies.
Mindfulness meditation is rapidly being integrated into many different forms of counseling and psychotherapy, and there is a growing evidence base for its effectiveness. It is important to understand the spiritual roots of mindfulness, and to apply it in a patient-centered manner, sensitive to the patient’s own faith tradition rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach, assuming that mindfulness-based practice is a purely secular approach. The philosophical underpinning of mindfulness lies squarely in the Buddhist faith tradition. Indeed, mindfulness is the 7th step on the Eightfold Path, which is the heart of Buddhist teachings. Many practitioners, however, may not realize that there are Western meditative techniques that are very similar to mindfulness and that have deep roots within Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faith traditions. Patient-centered mindfulness involves the use of mindfulness and other meditation methods that are based on the patient’s own faith tradition, rather than applying Eastern forms of mindfulness claiming these are a secular approach appropriate for everyone regardless of religious beliefs, even if those beliefs are not consistent with the Buddhist religious or philosophical approach. In this article, I briefly examine the evidence for the clinical effectiveness of mindfulness meditation, and then go into greater depth on Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim forms of mindfulness or similar meditative practices, providing resources that will better equip clinicians and researchers to provide patient-centered culturally-sensitive care.
The current study seeks to analyze Muslim experiences of communicative diseases with a focus on the psychosocial impacts and public, communal, and personal responses of Muslim populations throughout history. By examining a selection of plague outbreaks between the 8–19th centuries across the lands broadly defined as the Islamic Mediterranean (Varlık, 2017), the guidelines and coping mechanisms that Muslims extracted from their traditional sources are highlighted. This historical perspective contributes to a better understanding of the psychological and social aspects of pandemics for the Muslim community, specifically for the role played by faith and spirituality as determinants of psychological well-being in Muslims’ perceptions and responses. We suggest that such an understanding is especially useful for contemporary mental health practitioners working with Muslim patients through the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Research suggests that religious beliefs may contribute to abortion stigma, resulting in increased secrecy, reduced social support and help-seeking as well as poor coping and negative emotional consequences such as shame and guilt. This study sought to explore the anticipated help-seeking preferences and difficulties of Protestant Christian women in Singapore with regard to a hypothetical abortion scenario. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 self-identified Christian women recruited through purposive and snowball sampling. The sample was largely Singaporean and all participants were ethnically Chinese females of a similar age range (late twenties to mid-thirties). All willing participants were recruited regardless of denomination. All participants anticipated experiences of felt, enacted and internalized stigma. These were affected by their perceptions of God (e.g., how they see abortion), their personal definitions of “life” and their perceptions of their religio-social environment (e.g., perceived social safety and fears). These concerns contributed to participants choosing both faith-based and secular formal support sources with caveats, despite a primary preference for faith-based informal support and secondary preference for faith-based formal support. All participants anticipated negative post-abortion emotional outcomes, coping difficulties and short-term decision dissatisfaction. However, participants who reported more accepting views of abortion also anticipated an increase in decision satisfaction and well-being in the longer term.
Thematic map: themes and sub-themes
Cancer pain remains a significant problem worldwide. It is often undertreated and presents in about half of cancer patients. Although several guidelines and pharmacological interventions for cancer pain management (CPM) exist, inadequate assessment and undertreatment of cancer pain are well-documented globally, especially in developing countries, including Libya. Perceptions, cultural and religious beliefs of healthcare professionals (HCP), patients, and caregivers about cancer pain and opioids are reported as barriers to CPM globally. This qualitative descriptive study aimed to explore Libyan HCPs’, patients’, and caregivers’ views and religious beliefs about CPM and involved semi-structured interviews with 36 participants: 18 Libyan cancer patients, 6 caregivers, and 12 Libyan HCPs. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Patients, caregivers, and newly qualified HCPs were concerned about poor tolerance and drug addiction. HCPs perceived a lack of policies and guidelines, pain rating scales, and professional education and training as CPM barriers. Some patients were unable to pay for medicines if they faced financial difficulties. Instead, patients and caregivers emphasised religious and cultural beliefs for managing cancer pain, including the use of the Qur’an and cautery. Our results suggest that religious and cultural beliefs, lack of knowledge and training in CPM among HCPs, and economic and Libyan healthcare system-related factors negatively affect CPM in Libya.
CONSORT flow diagram of the project
This randomized controlled clinical trial aimed to examine the effect of spirituality-based palliative care on pain, nausea, vomiting, and the quality of life in 80 Iranian colon cancer inpatients from January to June 2020 in southern Iran. Patients were randomly assigned to an intervention group and a control group. The intervention group took part in four 120-min sessions while the control group received standard care. Pain, nausea, vomiting, and quality of life were assessed before the intervention and one month after the intervention. Data were analyzed using paired t-test and independent t-test. Between-groups differences analysis showed a significant difference in the quality of life scores, pain score, as well as nausea and vomiting scores following the one-month intervention. In conclusion, this group spirituality-based palliative care intervention might be beneficial in improving quality of life and reducing symptoms.
In this rejoinder, I comment on Irmak's 2014 article titled "Schizophrenia or Possession?" published in the Journal of Religion and Health (Irmak, 2014; JORH 53(3):773-777. ). After providing a brief overview of the article and two commentaries on it, I examine the role that demonic possession may or may not play in the development and course of schizophrenia. While keeping an open mind to the possibility of evil influences on the course of illness in those with or without psychosis, I emphasize that schizophrenia is a neurobiological illness that requires compassionate care and expert psychobiological treatment.
Factors influencing participant’s preference for staff member to discuss spiritual issues
While there is high patient acceptance for clinical staff discussing issues regarding spirituality with hospital inpatients, it is not clear which staff member patients prefer for these discussions. This unique exploratory study investigated inpatient preferences regarding which staff member should raise the topic of spirituality. A cross-sectional survey was conducted with inpatients at six hospitals in Sydney, Australia (n = 897), with a subset invited to participate in qualitative interviews (n = 41). Pastoral care staff (32.9%) were the preferred staff members with whom to discuss spiritual issues, followed by doctors (22.4%). Qualitative findings indicated that individual characteristics of the staff member are more important than their role.
Spiritual care is still in infancy stage all over the globe including India. The present study was an original study evaluating the role of spiritual care in cancer patients and their primary caregivers regarding their spiritual and general well-being. The study was a prospective, non-randomized single-group study involving cancer patients undergoing surgery and their primary caregivers. Functional assessment of cancer therapy-general and functional assessment of chronic illness therapy-spiritual care was evaluated during the admission and at the time of discharge, two, four and 6 months following discharge from the hospital. Descriptive statistics was used for demographic details and repeated measure ANOVA with Dunn's test was used for analysis of changes in the scores. A total of 107 (63 males and 44 females) patients with a mean (SD) of age 51 (13) years were recruited in the study. Similarly, for each patient one of their primary caregivers was recruited with their mean (SD) age of 39.4 (12.7) years. A total of 11/107 (10.3%) patients died and nine out of 107 (8.4%) were lost to follow-up eventually during the study period. There was a statistically significant (P \ 0.0001) increase in the scores at all the follow-up periods in both the patient and their relative groups. To conclude, we found out that spiritual care on the basis of MATCH guideline improved the level of not only spiritual well-being but general well-being also in both the patients and their primary caregivers. Control group could have improved scientific validity of study in accessing effect of spiritual care. Authors believe that more robust comparative study on each principle against all five MATCH principles in future will add scientific validity and clear the various ambiguities in spiritual care.
PRISMA flow diagram of screening (Page et al., 2021)
Australia is a multicultural and linguistically diverse country. Despite the vital role of religion/spirituality in the mental health of people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, it is not commonly included in their mental health care. A rapid review was conducted to critically evaluate the studies that identified relevant religious/spiritual aspects regarding mental health care for CALD communities. After a systematic search and screening, sixteen empirical studies were included. The findings of the review suggest that people from CALD backgrounds draw strength and comfort from their religion to support mental health. Religious/spiritual practices were identified as effective mental health strategies by CALD people. Religious leaders were noted to be important sources of mental health support and guidance for individuals from some CALD communities. Collaboration of religious leaders in the mental health care, and integration of religious/spiritual practices into mainstream mental health interventions, may improve mental health care for people with CALD backgrounds.
All nations are continuously learning how best to live with the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilizing organizational moral learning and Islamic spirituality perspectives, this paper proposes a learning framework called the whole-of-nation moral learning by spiritual hearts to understand the dynamics of learning and change in a nation tackling the pandemic. It proposes that to overcome the pandemic or any other crises, governance requires the combination of moral leadership and followership by spiritual hearts as agents for moral learning and change, supported by realigned and reconfigured systems for holistic growth. Brunei's journey in tackling the pandemic illustrates the framework.
This article investigates counseling in a religious context while keeping human subjects’ existential realities in mind. The methodology, which combines Theology and Psychology, aims to provide an alternative approach to religious counseling by overcoming religious counselors’ tendency to limit human suffering to “spiritual symptoms” by utilizing religious cosmovisions structured in pre-established concepts and values. Furthermore, the approach focuses on the development of human subjects in terms of their quality of life through the spiritual and mental health pillars.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic vaccines were highly anticipated in order to help contain the spread of the virus and mitigate its impact. However, when the vaccination program began, some minorities were reluctant to get vaccinated for numerous reasons. Specifically, at that time in Greece many priests were opposed to getting vaccinated and proceeded to discourage their flock, in stark contrast to the decisions of Greek Orthodox religious leaders who endorsed the vaccination program. It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t solely affect the health system but also other parts of society such as politics, the economy and, last but not least, religion and worship. In the current article, we aim to present the notions and attitudes that led many Greek Orthodox Christians to be hesitant about getting vaccinated or even to become a part of the movement actively against vaccination that has been growing during this pandemic.
A conceptual framework illustrating the direct and indirect (via mediating role of religious attendance) effects of living arrangements on subjective well-being
Structural equation model results showing direct effects of living arrangements on subjective well-being, and indirect effects via mediation role of religious attendance. a selecting living alone as the reference group, and b living with spouse and children as the reference group. Numbers on arrows are standardized path coefficients (scaled by their mean and standard deviation), and asterisks indicate statistical significance (*P < 0.05; **P < 0.01; ***P < 0.001). Red arrows, evidence for positive relationships; blue arrows, evidence for negative relationships; dotted arrows, insufficient statistical evidence for path coefficients (P > 0.05). Width of the arrows shows the strength of the causal relationship
While previous studies have found that living arrangements and religiosity can influence the subjective well-being (SWB) of older adults, they have tended to investigate each of these aspects separately. Engaging with this gap, the current study examines the relationship between living arrangements, religious attendance, and the SWB of older adults, as well as the mediating effect of religious attendance on the relationship between the other two factors. A total of 875 older adults from 40 villages or communities in a Tibetan area in China (Gannan) were surveyed. An ordinary least square regression was used to evaluate the relationship between SWB and living arrangements and/or religious attendance. A structural equation model was then used to test the mediating role played by religious attendance in the association between living arrangements and SWB. The results showed that older adults in the selected study areas who were co-residing with their children and/or spouse had a higher level of SWB compared to those living alone. While religious attendance was positively associated with older adults’ SWB, the findings showed that living with their spouse or children decreased their frequency of attendance at religious activities. In contrast, it was found that living alone directly decreased older adults’ SWB, but increased the frequency of their participation in religious events, thus indirectly promoting their SWB. A key implication of this study is its confirmation that religious attendance plays an important mediating role in the relationship between living arrangements and SWB.
Google Trends for the string messa streaming from March 9 to May 17
Heat maps comparing religiousness (deciles) in 2018 and in 2020 for different Italian regions
By changing many aspects of everyday life, the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distance policies implemented to face it have affected the behaviour of people all over the world. Has the pandemic also affected people’s approach towards the divine? Previous evidence suggests that prayer searches on the Internet rose during the pandemic and that people tend to rely mainly on intrinsic rather than extrinsic religiousness to cope with adversity. In the present contribution, using a set of panel random effect estimators, we compare the change in religious attendance in Italian regions before and during the pandemic. Our results suggest that there has been an increase in religiousness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our findings are robust to several specifications of the model and to different estimators. This suggests that people derive more comfort from religious activities during hard times that are characterized by uncertainty.
Hypothesized associations among perceived stress, religiosity, and substance use
This study examined associations among perceived stress, religiosity, and substance use in African American and Latinx college students with asthma. Participants included 194 college students with asthma (18–20 years, 63.4% African American, 21.1% Latinx). Eligible students completed an online questionnaire that included measures of asthma control, perceived stress, religiosity, alcohol misuse, and last 30-day tobacco use and marijuana use. Over one-quarter (25.3%) of participants reported using tobacco and 31.9% reported using marijuana in the past 30 days. Perceived stress and religiosity were each independently associated with multiple indicators of substance use. Asthma control moderated associations between religiosity and tobacco use in the past 30 days (b = − .014, p = .002), such that the association between religiosity and tobacco use was stronger among those with better asthma control. Participant gender significantly moderated the association between perceived stress and alcohol misuse (b = − .099, p = .029); a stronger, positive association between stress and alcohol misuse was found among men. Students’ perceived stress levels were associated with marijuana use in the past 30 days and high alcohol misuse. Religiosity was inversely linked to substance use. There is a need for healthcare providers to recognize and focus on substance use prevention specifically among African American and Latinx college students with asthma.
Why chaplains recommended spiritual caregiving for non-religious populations
Suggestions and questions for delivering spiritual care to religious 'nones' How to deliver spiritual care to religious 'nones' Associated spirituality assessment questions Engage with patients' normative framework Do you think your values and beliefs may impact the medical care that you seek? If so, in what way?
One in four American patients now identify as religiously unaffiliated. This study utilizes thematic analysis to deliver qualitative results from in-depth interviews conducted with five chaplains at a premier cancer research institution in Florida to envision what care for their spiritual dimension should look like in practice. It demonstrates why the chaplains interviewed suggested that spiritual caregiving still contributes to their holistic wellbeing, and it suggests how spiritual care and assessments may be provided to so-called religious 'nones'-or those who identify as spiritual but not religious, not religiously affiliated, secular humanist, atheist, agnostic, and so on. We conclude with a novel spirituality assessment for use while serving this patient population.
The relationship between psychology and religion has been widely debated in the field of psychology from its foundation as an empirical science to the present day. One author who was interested in the relationship between psychology and religion, the place of the latter in human nature, and its role in psychotherapy was the Viennese neurologist, psychiatrist, and philosopher Viktor Emil Frankl (1905-1997), the founder of logotherapy. This paper presents Frankl’s main ideas about religion, the religious nature of the human being, and the relationship between religiosity, psychotherapy, and logotherapy, as well as a review of the main criticisms he has received in this regard. Frankl always defended the differences and limits between religion and psychotherapy, between the priestly cure of souls and the medical cure of souls, and between the salvific objective of religion and the hygienic objective of psychotherapy. In our opinion, critical authors have failed to appreciate Frankl’s efforts to expose this distinction.
Key finding
This article addresses cases of remarkable recoveries related to healing after prayer. We sought to investigate how people who experienced remarkable recoveries re-construct and give meaning to these experiences, and examine the role that epistemic frameworks available to them, play in this process. Basing ourselves on horizontal epistemology and using grounded theory, we conducted this qualitative empirical research in the Netherlands in 2016–2021. It draws on 14 in-depth interviews. These 14 cases were selected from a group of 27 cases, which were evaluated by a medical assessment team at the Amsterdam University Medical Centre. Each of the participants had experienced a remarkable recovery during or after prayer. The analysis of the interviews, which is based on the grounded theory approach, resulted in three overarching themes, placing possible explanations of the recoveries within (1) the medical discourse, (2) biographical discourse, and (3) a discourse of spiritual and religious transformation. Juxtaposition of these explanatory frameworks provides a way to understand better the transformative experience that underlies remarkable recoveries. Uncertainty regarding an explanation is a component of knowing and can facilitate a dialogue between various domains of knowledge.
Relationship between study themes
The aim of this study was to explore Australian chaplains’ views of spirituality. Semi-structured online interviews were conducted with 16 participants. Participants relied heavily on metaphors and analogies to describe spirituality. Four inter-related themes were identified through reflexive thematic analysis: (1) The core of spirituality: spirituality as a source of meaning or belief which leads to connectedness with something greater than oneself; (2) A function of spirituality: spirituality empowers people to cope in a crisis, by providing motivation, hope and comfort; (3) The experience of spiritual crisis: admission to hospital or residential care can lead to existential struggle; and (4) The spiritual practice: of holding space between struggle and growth. Greater understanding of the theoretical basis of their work may allow chaplains to offer more in the therapeutic space.
This qualitative study examined fatalistic beliefs and cancer causal attributions among people without cancer. Participants were 30 Israeli women and men aged 51–70 from diverse sociocultural backgrounds who participated in four focus groups. Three main themes emerged, referring to the variability in fatalistic beliefs of cancer occurrence and cancer outcome, the duality in attributing causality to divine providence and mere luck or chance, and the connection between distinct fatalistic beliefs and health behaviors. Data analysis enabled an expansion of the understanding of cancer fatalism as a multidimensional structure, whereby interactions between causality attribution and different fatalistic beliefs are related to prevention and screening behaviors.
Top-cited authors
Harold Koenig
  • Duke University Medical Center
Giancarlo Lucchetti
  • Federal University of Juiz de Fora
Lindsay Brian Carey
  • La Trobe University
Raphael Bonelli
  • Sigmund Freud University Vienna
Neal Krause
  • University of Michigan