Religious activities and attitudes of older adults in a geriatric assessment clinic.
Few studies have examined the prevalence, salience, and impact of religious beliefs, activities, and commitment among medical patients in later life. Surveys of the U.S. population aged 65 years and over reveal a high frequency of such beliefs and activities, which are reported to play a significant role in their lives. In this study, the religious beliefs, activities, and motivations of 106 consecutive patients (mean age 74.4 years) attending a geriatric outpatient clinic were examined. A high prevalence of orthodox Christian beliefs, religious community activity, private devotional activity, and intrinsic religious orientation was found. Levels of religious activity and intrinsic orientation were lower among patients with cancer, chronic anxiety, depressive symptoms, and those who smoked cigarettes or consumed moderate to large amounts of alcohol. Intrinsic religiosity was lower among men with hypertension. Patients with mild to moderate dementia tended to have higher levels of intrinsic religious orientation. The results of this study suggest that religion is a powerful cultural force in the lives of older medical patients and is integrally related to both mental and physical health.
Koenig, HG; Moberg, DO; Kvale, JN
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