How religion, spirituality influence health

Last Updated: Sat, Mar 29, 2014 10:09 hrs

Washington: Do you know that religion helps regulate behaviour and health habits while spirituality regulates your emotions?

According to a new research, religion and spirituality have distinct but complementary influences on health.

"No one has ever reviewed all of the different models of how religion affects health. We are trying to impose a structure on a very messy field," said Carolyn Aldwin, a gerontology professor in the college of public health and human sciences at Oregon State University.

Religiousness, including formal religious affiliation and service attendance, is associated with better health habits such as lower smoking rates and reduced alcohol consumption.

Spirituality, including meditation and private prayers, helps regulate emotions, which aids physiological effects such as blood pressure, Aldwin noted.

There can be some overlap of the influences of religion and spirituality on health.

"More research is needed to test the theory and examine contrasts between the two different pathways," Aldwin commented.

The goal is to help researchers develop better measures for analysing the connections between religion, spirituality and health and then explore possible clinical interventions, the researchers concluded.

The findings were published in the journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.

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