More than anything else, people who pray, pray for good health. But are religion and spirituality relevant to treatment? If so, do they have a positive or negative effect?
A recent study published in the November 2009 issue of the journal Social Problems suggested that religion can be both a bridge and a barrier when it comes to medical treatment. (source)
According to the study, for every case where religion was a barrier (i.e. religious belief prevented consent for a proven treatment), there was another instance where it was a bridge – for example, a case where the family of a terminally-ill child could suggest answers where medicine couldn’t.
Another study, this one by Zogby International, suggested that born-again Christians were 14% less likely to get the H1N1 vaccination than people who did not identify themselves as such. (source)
Can religion make you healthy?
So does being religious help or hinder your health?