Some Links on Faith and Health
Last updated 7 August 2000. An appendix to The Star
There is a great deal of evidence of postive links between faith and mental
and physical health. I have been stimulated to add to this by the relevant chapters
in Patrick Glynn's masterly God - the Evidence.
The BBC story on the Health Education Authority report on faith and mental
health is here.
And their story about how churchgoing prolongs life expectancy is here.
Other Faith and Health links that I have found (and there are lots more, try
google, altavista, northenlight).
- a rather sceptical
Lancet Article (February 20, 99 - Religion
Spirituality and Medicine) questions the studies because they have not
controlled adequately for co-factors. But of course the fact that religious
belief reduces "stricter adherence to codes of conduct that proscribe
behaviors associated with risk" is hardly a reason for dismissing their
positive health effects! In fact this article is torn to shreds in the following
one, and shown to be a very shoddy piece of work.
- Religion, Spirituality,
and Medicine: A Rebuttal To Skeptics gives a substantial rebuttal to this,
published in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine. This gives
20 references - I am adding web traces of those I can find:
- Koenig HG, McCullough M, Larson DB. Religion
and health: A century of research reviewed. New York, NY: Oxford University
Press, (coming out Nov 2000).
- Schoenbach VJ, Kaplan BH, Fredman L, Kleinbaum DG. Social ties and mortality
in Evans County, Georgia. American Journal of Epidemiology 1986; 123:577-591
(there's an abstract here
but you have to search down for it). The journal is on the web but not
back issues that far.
- Seeman TE, Kaplan GA, Knudsen L, Cohen R, Guralnik J. Social network
ties and mortality among the elderly in the Alameda County Study. American
Journal of Epidemiology 1987; 126:714-723.
- Bryant S, Rakowski W. Predictors of mortality among elderly African
Americans. Research on Aging 1992; 14:50-67.
- Goldman N, Korenman S, Weinstein R. Marital status and health among
the elderly. Social Science and Medicine 1995; 40:1717-1730.
- Oman D, Reed D. Religion
and mortality among the community-dwelling elderly. American Journal
of Public Health 1998;88: 1469-1475.
- Hummer R, Rogers R, Nam C, Ellison CG. Religious attendance and mortality
in the U.S. adult population. Demography 1999. (this is the journal of
the Population Association of America
but it is only available online if you subscribe to the right services)
- Koenig HG, Hays JC, Larson DB, George LK, Cohen HJ, McCullough M, Meador
K, Blazer DG. Does
religious attendance prolong survival?: A six-year follow-up study
of 3,968 older adults. Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences 1999;
- Musick MA, House JS, Williams DR. Attendance at religious services and
mortality in a national sample. Paper presented at the 1999 Annual Meeting
of the American Sociological Association, Chicago, Illinois, August 6.(a
USA Today report is here
- I understand from the author that the paper is still being reviewed
- Koenig HG, Larson DB, Hays JC, McCullough ME, George LK, Branch PS,
Meador KG. Kuchibhatla M. Religion and survival of 1010 male veterans
hospitalized with medical illness. Journal
of Religion and Health 1998; 37:15-29 (but I can't find this article
on the web).
- Idler EL, Kasl, SV. Religion among disabled and nondisabled elderly
persons, II: Attendance at religious services as a predictor of the course
of disability. Journal of Gerontology 1997; 52B:s306-s316.
- Strawbridge WJ, Cohen RD, Shema SJ, Kaplan GA. Frequent attendance at
religious services and morality over 28 years. American Journal of Public
Health 1997; 87: 957-961 (abstract here).
- Friedlander Y. Kark JD, Stein Y. Religious orthodoxy and myocardial
infarction in Jerusalem: A case-control study. International Journal of
Cardiology 1986; 10:33-41.
- Goldbourt U, Yaari S, Medalie JH. Factors predictive of long-term coronary
heart disease mortality among 10,059 male Israeli civil servants and municipal
employees. Cardiology 1993; 82:100-121.
- Kark JD, Shemi G, Friedlander Y, Martin O, Manor O, Blondheim SH. Does
religious observance promote health? Mortality in secular vs. religious
kibbutzim in Israel. American Journal of Public Health 1996;86:341-346.
- House JS, Robbins C, Metzner H. The association of social relationships
and activities with mortality: Prospective evidence from the Tecumseh
community health study. American Journal of Epidemiology 1982; 116;123-140.
- Byrd RC. Positive therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer in a coronary
care unit population. Southern Medical Journal 1988;81:826-829.
- Idler EL, Kasl, SV. Religion disability, depression, and the timing
of death. American Journal of Sociology 1992;97:1052-1079.
- Oxman TE, Freeman DH, Manheimer ED. Lack of social participation or
religious strength and comfort as risk factors for death after cardiac
surgery in the elderly. Psychosomatic Medicine 1995; 57:5-15.
- There is an interesting fact sheet here
with some other references.