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Religion and Spirituality in Gerontology 

Religion and Spirituality in Gerontology
Religion and Spirituality in Gerontology

Harold G. Koenig

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date: 03 March 2021

This chapter provides a state-of-the-science review of research on religion, spirituality, and health in later life; examines avenues for future research; explores how religion or spirituality may arise in the patient encounter; and describes best practices in terms of assessing and addressing older adults’ spiritual needs related to illness. First, it summarizes quantitative research through 2010 on religion/spirituality (R/S) conducted in older adults in the areas of mental health and physical health. It then describes a selection of studies published within the past two years that illustrate the most recent findings on R/S and health among older adults, discusses research gaps in areas of mental and physical health, and explores high-priority studies needed to advance the field. It concludes with a case that illustrates how R/S may present in the clinical encounter and demonstrates best practices on how clinicians might sensitively and sensibly address this topic.

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