Spirituality and health: What we know, what we need to know


Journal Article

Spirituality and religion have been seen as beneficial, harmful, and irrelevant to health. We examine the recent research on this topic. We focus on (a) defining spirituality and religion both conceptually and operationally; (b) the relationships between spirituality/religion and health; and (c) priorities for future research. Although the effect sizes are moderate, there typically are links between religious practices and reduced onset of physical and mental illnesses, reduced mortality, and likelihood of recovery from or adjustment to physical and mental illness. The three mechanisms underlying these relationships involve religion increasing healthy behaviors, social support, and a sense of coherence or meaning. This research is based on religion measures, however, and it should be emphasized that spirituality may be different.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • George, LK; Larson, DB; Koenig, HG; McCullough, ME

Published Date

  • January 1, 2000

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 19 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 102 - 116

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0736-7236

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1521/jscp.2000.19.1.102

Citation Source

  • Scopus