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On the links between religion and health: what has empirical research taught us? 

On the links between religion and health: what has empirical research taught us?
Chapter:
On the links between religion and health: what has empirical research taught us?
Author(s):

Hisham Abu-Raiya

and Kenneth I. Pargament

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199571390.003.0045
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date: 18 December 2017

Before the 1990s, the relationship between religion and health was for the most part a neglected area of research: researchers often buried religious variables in the methods and results sections of their studies. In the last two decades, this picture has changed dramatically — a considerable body of research has emerged regarding the relationship between religion and health. These studies have led to some important insights into the links between religious beliefs and practices, and the wellbeing of the individual. These ties between religion and health outcomes are the focus of this chapter. We start by referring to issues of definition and measurement of religion. Then, we summarize the important findings on the relationship between religion, health and wellbeing that has emerged from research in four main areas: religious involvement, religious motivation, religion and prejudice, and religious coping. We conclude by pointing to some of the limitations of this body of research and suggesting directions for research that might further advance the empirically-based psychology of religion and spirituality.

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