Religious Beliefs About Health and the Body and their Association with Subjective Health

Abstract

Evidence supports an association between religion and spirituality and health outcomes. The aim of this study is to examine religious beliefs related to health and their relationship to self-rated health in a large and diverse population-based sample in Chicago. Three religious beliefs were assessed—the importance of prayer for health, God’s will as the most important factor in getting well, and sanctity of the body. All three beliefs were highly prevalent, especially among racial/ethnic minorities. Unadjusted models showed a significant association between two of the beliefs and self-rated health, which did not persist in the adjusted models. This study provides insight into different belief patterns among racial/ethnic groups and has practical implications for both clinicians and public health practitioners.

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Funding

The Sinai Community Health Survey 2.0 was funded by the Chicago Community Trust (www.cct.org), grants C2013-00,630, C2014-01,723, C2015-04,294. The funders had no role in the design of the current study, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

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K.W. and M.B. helped in conceptualization and contributed to methodology; M.B. helped in formal analysis and investigation and in writing—review and editing, contributed to resources and to funding acquisition, and was involved in supervision; K.W. was involved in writing—original draft preparation.

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Correspondence to Maureen R. Benjamins.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Informed consent was obtained from all study participants.

Ethical Approval

The Sinai Survey 2.0 was approved by the IRBs of University of Illinois at Chicago (#2014–0524) and Mount Sinai Hospital (MSH #14–17). The dataset and questionnaires are available through the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research website (Sinai Community Health Survey 2.0, Chicago, Illinois, 2015–2016 (ICPSR 37,073)).

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Walters, K., Benjamins, M.R. Religious Beliefs About Health and the Body and their Association with Subjective Health. J Relig Health (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-020-01178-2

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Keywords

  • Religion/spirituality
  • Self-rated health
  • Subjective health
  • Race
  • Ethnicity