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In this week's PARADE (March 23, 2003), writer Dianne Hales explores why more and more doctors are convinced of prayer's positive effects on mental and physical health. What do you think? Tell us in our poll. Also, check out some surprising results from studies of the link between faith and health, and visit the Web sites of major organizations examining the nexus of spirituality and wellness.
Summary of Research
While rigorous investigation into the links between spirituality and health is fairly new, researchers already have uncovered many surprising results. Following are some of the more intriguing findings:
A nine-year study of the mortality rate among 21,000 adults found that those who attended religious services more than once a week lived up to seven years longer than those who did not.
In a study of 108 women with gynecological cancers, researchers at the University of Michigan discovered that 93% said religion bolstered their hopes for treatment.
Researchers at the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Michigan, studying self-esteem in seniors, found that religious faith was the most important factor linked to feelings of self-worth. The study of 1005 seniors over age 65, who did not live in nursing homes, found that those with low self-esteem tended to be nonreligious.
A review of more than 80 studies on the link between religion and depression found that people who are not involved in organized religion are 20 to 60% more likely to experience a major depression.
Center for the Study of Religion/Spirituality and Health
Located at Duke University, the center is leading research into religion's effects on health. Find out about speaking engagements by the center's scientists and read about the center's past and present research.
International Center for the Integration of
Health and Spirituality (ICIHS)
Founded by the late Dr. David Larson, a pioneer in the study of spirituality and health, the ICIHS coordinates research efforts among doctors and other investigators. The center's site offers research summaries on a vast number of health topics.
& Opportunities in Science & Theology
Contributors to this independent monthly newspaper include many of the top names in the fields of science, medicine and theology. The journal's site offers several free articles each month.
Through the foundation that bears his name, retired Wall Street tycoon John Templeton is a major funder of research into the nexus of spirituality and science. Learn more about the foundation's many programs and awards.