The Role of Patient Religiosity in the Evaluation and Treatment Outcomes for Chronic HCV Infection

Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, BCM 620, Houston, TX, 77030, USA, .
Journal of Religion and Health (Impact Factor: 1.02). 03/2011; 52(1). DOI: 10.1007/s10943-011-9455-y
Source: PubMed


To determine the influence of patient religiosity on the outcome of treatment of hepatitis C infection, a prospective, blinded, cohort study was performed on hepatitis C-infected patients categorized as 'higher religiosity' and 'lower religiosity' based on responses to a religiosity questionnaire. Comparisons were made between high and low religiosity patients on demographics, pre-treatment laboratory values, and response to treatment. Eighty-seven patients with complete questionnaires were placed in either higher (38) or lower (49) religiosity cohort. The patients (60% female) were ethnically diverse: African-American 39%; Hispanic 31%; white 29%. African-American race (P = 0.001) and female gender (P = 0.026) were associated with higher religiosity. The frequency of being offered treatment, accepting treatment, and completing treatment was similar in both religiosity cohorts (P = 0.234, 0.809, 0.367). Fifty-six patients completed the 24- or 48-week treatment with peginterferon and ribavirin. Depression was more frequent in the low religiosity group (38.2% vs. 4.6%, P = 0.005). Sustained viral response rate at 3-6-month post-therapy was similar in the higher (50%) and lower (57.6%) religiosity cohorts (P = 0.580; n = 55). Logistic regression modeling revealed that males having higher religiosity gave greater odds of SVR than those with lower religiosity (OR 21.3; 95% CI 1.1-403.9). The level of religiosity did not affect the decision to begin treatment for chronic HCV infection and was not associated with a better treatment outcome. A higher level of religiosity was associated with less depression among patients.

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    • "These outcomes directly contradict our postulation that ‘spirituality/religiosity will significantly influence medication adherence positively’. The results also contradict findings by Simoni, Frick, and Huang (2006) [33] and Raghavan et al. (2013) [34] whose studies have shown a positive impact of spirituality/ religiosity on medication adherence. It is worth noting that these studies were not conducted with a sub-Saharan African population. "
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    ABSTRACT: Medication non-adherence is often a predominant problem in the management of hypertension and other chronic conditions. In explaining health behaviours, social determinants like spirituality and religiosity are increasingly identified to impact health and treatment. Although a number of researchers have found spirituality and religiosity to be primary resources among persons dealing with chronic disability and illness, studies relating this specifically to medication adherence have been limited. Our study sought to examine the interrelationship between spirituality/ religiosity and medication adherence among 400 hypertensive patients 18 years old and above. Spiritual Perspective Scale, Duke Religion Index, and the Morisky Medication Adherence Scale were used to determine spirituality, religiosity and medication adherence respectively. The majority (93.25%) of patients poorly adhered to their medications. While high spiritual and religious beliefs formed core components of the lifestyles of patients, spirituality (p = 0.018) and not religiosity (p = 0.474) related directly with medication non-adherence. Likewise, after controlling for demography and other medical co-morbidities, patients with high spirituality were 2.68 times more likely to be poorly adherent than patients who place lower emphasis on the association between spirituality and health. Our study suggests that while spirituality/ religiosity was dominant among hypertensive patients, these spiritual attachments of patients with a supreme being potentially increased their trust in the expectation of divine healing instead of adhering adequately with their anti-hypertensive medications.
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