Religion and anxiety treatments in primary care patients.
Earlier data suggested that religious physicians are less likely to refer to a psychiatrist or psychologist. This follow-up study measures how religious beliefs affect anxiety treatments in primary care. We surveyed US primary care physicians and psychiatrists using a vignette of a patient with anxiety symptoms. Physicians were asked how likely they were to recommend antianxiety medication, see the patient for counseling, refer to a psychiatrist, refer to a psychologist or licensed counselor, encourage meaningful relationships and activities, and encourage involvement in religious community. We experimentally varied symptom severity, whether the patient was Christian or Jewish, and whether she attended religious services. Physician attendance at religious services was assessed in the survey. The response rate was 896 out of 1427 primary care physicians and 312 out of 487 psychiatrists. Religious physicians were more likely to promote religious resources. There was no statistically significant difference between physicians' recommendations for religious and nonreligious patients. There was no statistically significant difference in religious and nonreligious physicians' referrals to a psychologist, licensed counselor, or psychiatrist. Ultimately, we did not find a difference in religious and nonreligious physicians' support for mental health referrals, however, religious physicians were more likely to encourage using religious resources.
Lawrence, RE; Rasinski, KA; Yoon, JD; Curlin, FA
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