Religious involvement and health in dialysis patients in Saudi Arabia.
Patients on hemodialysis experience considerable psychological and physical stress due to the changes brought on by chronic kidney disease. Religion is often turned to in order to cope with illness and may buffer some of these stresses associated with illness. We describe here the religious activities of dialysis patients in Saudi Arabia and determined demographic, psychosocial, and physical health correlates. We administered an in-person questionnaire to 310 dialysis patients (99.4 % Muslim) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, that included the Muslim Religiosity Scale, Structured Clinical Interview for Depression, Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, Global Assessment of Functioning scale, and other established measures of psychosocial and physical health. Bivariate and multivariate analyses identified characteristics of patients who were more religiously involved. Religious practices and intrinsic religious beliefs were widespread. Religious involvement was more common among those who were older, better educated, had higher incomes, and were married. Overall psychological functioning was better and social support higher among those who were more religious. The religious also had better physical functioning, better cognitive functioning, and were less likely to smoke, despite having more severe overall illness and being on dialysis for longer than less religious patients. Religious involvement is correlated with better overall psychological functioning, greater social support, better physical and cognitive functioning, better health behavior, and longer duration of dialysis. Whether religion leads to or is a result of better mental and physical health will need to be determined by future longitudinal studies and clinical trials.
Al Zaben, F; Khalifa, DA; Sehlo, MG; Al Shohaib, S; Binzaqr, SA; Badreg, AM; Alsaadi, RA; Koenig, HG
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