Handbook of Religion and Health / Edition 1

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What effect does religion have on physical and mental health? In answering this question, this book reviews and discusses research on the relationship between religion and a variety of mental and physical health outcomes, including depression and anxiety; heart disease, stroke, and cancer; and health related behaviors such as smoking and substance abuse. The authors examine the positive and negative effects of religion on health throughout the life span, from childhood to old age. Based on their findings, they build theoretical models illustrating the behavioral, psychological, social, and physiological pathways through which religion may influence health. The authors also review research on the impact of religious affiliation, belief, and practice on the use of health services and compliance with medical treatment. In conclusion, they discuss the clinical relevance of their findings and make recommendations for future research priorities.
Offering the first comprehensive examination of its topic, this volume is an indispensable resource for research scientists, health professionals, public policy makers, and anyone interested in the relationship between religion and health.

The book contains black-and-white illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This would be an excellent addition to the library of congregations and their clergy, health educators, youth workers, and professional chaplains."--Anglican Theological Review

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Patricia E. Murphy, PhD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This book handles well the daunting task of providing a comprehensive and critical review of the research conducted between 1900 and 2000 that measures the relationship between religion and various mental and physical health outcomes.
Purpose: The purpose is to lay a foundation for the growing focus on medicine that takes into account mind/body/spirit. The critique of research methods and instruments used in the past is a much needed contribution to this area in which there are both excellent and very inadequate studies. The authors' review provides a scientific foundation for understanding how religion might impact health.
Audience: Written for medical researchers, health professionals, and religious professionals, the writing style and organization lends itself well to be used as a handbook to focus on topics of particular interest. The authors are both experts in the field of health and research in the area of religion and health.
Features: The book includes a chart of all the research in the field, organized by health outcome, that includes information about the design of the study and the measures and statistical analyses used along with a score for the quality of the study. It also provides a review of some of the religion/spirituality instruments most frequently used in research.
Assessment: This is an excellent book that can give those who are interested a solid basis for assessing the merit of inclusion of a focus on spirit in the practice of medicine. It provides the researcher a direction that might help avoid pitfalls of the past. The writing is interesting and inviting so that the lay person could also benefit from exploring its contents.
Journal of the American Medical Association
This book provides a fascinating look at the role of religion and the use of health services against the background of the current availability of and access to health care across all segments of society. This analysis suggests that the level of religiousness and an individual's commitment to preventive behaviors and the use of medical services may be a fruitful area of future research....This is an unparalleled resource not only for physicians with an interest in the relationship between religion and health but perhaps even more for those who doubt its significance. All physicians should consider the possibility that something so meaningful to a large number of patients might also be good for their health.

4 Stars! from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195118667
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 728
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 2.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Harold G. Koenig, M.D., is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Associate Professor of Medicine at Duke University. Michael E. McCullough, Ph.D., is Director of Research at the National Institute for Healthcare Research. David B. Larson, M.D., is President of the National Institute for Healthcare Research.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
Pt. I Historical Context
1 Definitions 17
2 A History of Religion, Science, and Medicine: Historical Timeline 24
Pt. II Debating Religion's Effects on Health
3 Religion's Positive Effects 53
4 Religion's Negative Effects 60
5 Religious Coping: The Patient's Experience 78
Pt. III Research on Religion and Mental Health
6 Well-Being 97
7 Depression 118
8 Suicide 136
9 Anxiety Disorders 144
10 Schizophrenia and Other Psychoses 154
11 Alcohol and Drug Use 166
12 Delinquency 181
13 Marital Instability 191
14 Personality 204
15 Understanding Religion's Effects on Mental Health 214
Pt. IV Research on Religion and Physical Disorders
16 Heart Disease 231
17 Hypertension 250
18 Cerebrovascular Disease and the Brain 264
19 Immune System Dysfunction 276
20 Cancer 292
21 Mortality 318
22 Religion and Disability 331
23 Pain and Other Somatic Symptoms 344
24 Health Behaviors 358
25 Understanding Religion's Effects on Physical Health 382
Pt. V Religion and Use of Health Services
26 Disease Prevention, Disease Detection, and Treatment Compliance 397
27 Use of General Medical and Mental Health Services 409
28 Understanding Religion's Effects on Health Service Use 428
Pt. VI Clinical Applications
29 Health Professionals 437
30 Religious Professionals 449
Pt. VII Priorities for Future Research
31 Areas of Research That Need Further Study 465
32 Research Methods 479
33 Measurement Tools 495
Pt. VIII Studies on Religion and Health by Health Outcome
34 The Studies (Earliest to 2000) 513
Conclusions 591
References 593
Index 689
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2001

    Extraordinary Source of Information on Religion and Health

    There is an amazing amount of information here. In the Appendix alone, 1200 studies are reviewed and rated in terms of quality. There are 2000 references! When I picked up this tome, I figured it would be boring reading. What a surprise I got -- it was actually pretty fast and easy reading. I didn't realize there was this much scientific information on the subject.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2001

    The current Bible of the field

    This is a very important summary of the field of religion and health by three recognized experts who can write plain English. This will be one of the Bibles of the field for the next decade. It provides a solid balanced review of over 1200 studies. RECOMMENDED WITHOUT RESERVATION.

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