9/11/2014 feature story
Using a nationally representative survey sample, Neal Krause analyzes measures of religiosity in relation to a range of biomarkers to assess the association of religious devotion and health.
Landmark Spirituality and Health Survey
Some studies suggest that people who are greatly involved in religion tend to enjoy better physical and mental health than individuals who are less involved. But at least three problems with these findings must be overcome. First, researchers have proposed many ways in which religion may affect health, making it hard to determine how the beneficial effects might arise. Second, a number of studies on religion and health have been conducted with college students, making it hard to know if the findings apply to a more representative group. Third, if religion affects health, then researchers must identify the specific physiological mechanisms that are at work. This project approaches the study of religion and health with a comprehensive battery of religion measures, a large nationally representative sample of adults, and a range of biomarkers that can show how religion may affect physiological changes in the body.
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