A study by R. J. Contrada et al. (2004; see record 2004-13299-001) suggested that religious involvement affects recovery from coronary artery bypass graft surgery. This finding makes a significant contribution to the growing literature on the role of religion in health and illness, yet it is unlikely to have a comparable impact on coronary artery bypass graft surgery research. Why? What determines the importance of psychosocial predictors of medical outcomes? How can health psychologists increase the impact of biopsychosocial research?
In this reply to K. E. Freedland's (see record 2004-13299-002) comments on R. J. Contrada et al. (see record 2004-13299-001), it is shown that the statistical issues he raised, and his preferred interpretation of the findings, were adequately addressed in the original article. It is argued that methodological limitations also were fully characterized and do not differ in kind from those of biomedical studies.
This article reports a prospective study of religiousness and recovery from heart surgery. Religiousness and other psychosocial factors were assessed in 142 patients about a week prior to surgery. Those with stronger religious beliefs subsequently had fewer complications and shorter hospital stays, the former effect mediating the latter. Attendance at religious services was unrelated to complications but predicted longer hospitalizations. Prayer was not related to recovery. Depressive symptoms were associated with longer hospital stays.
The objective of these studies was to determine the strength and direction of the relationship between prayer and gratitude. In Study 1 (n = 674), the authors replicated the cross-sectional association between prayer frequency and gratitude that has been demonstrated in previous research. In Study 2 (n = 780), prayer frequency predicted gratitude 6 weeks later even when controlling for initial gratitude and religiosity. In Study 3 (n = 832), the authors replicated this longitudinal relationship, this time also controlling for socially desirable responding.
Forgiveness is proposed to be an important pathway through which the effects of religion on health are mediated. Three separate studies were conducted to examine this hypothesis. In Study 1, older adults (n = 605) completed measures of forgiveness, religiosity, and health. Feeling forgiven by God fully mediated associations between frequency of attendance, frequency of prayer, and belief in a watchful God with successful aging. Self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others partially mediated the religion–health relationships.
Although there has been a substantial increase over the past decade in studies that have examined the psychosocial correlates of spirituality/religiosity in adolescence, very little is known about spirituality/religiosity as a domain of development in its own right. To address this limitation, the authors identified configurations of multiple dimensions of spirituality/religiosity across 2 time points with an empirical classification procedure (cluster analysis) and assessed development in these configurations at the sample and individual level.
Objective: Emerging research on the moral licensing effect implies that increasing a person's moral certainty may decrease concerns about the moral consequences of violent warfare. Therefore, if religion increases moral certainty, then it may also contribute to support for violent warfare. The present experiment tested the extent to which religion's contribution to moral certainty explains participants' support for the United States' war in the Middle East.
This study investigates the relationship between religious behavior and health status and psychological well-being in a population sample of Israeli Jewish adults (N = 1,849). Using data from the Israeli sample of the European Social Survey, measures of synagogue attendance and private prayer were examined in relation to single-item indicators of subjective and functional health, happiness, and life satisfaction and to a three-item scale tapping into the somatic dimension of well-being.
Religiousness is reliably associated with lower substance use, but little research has examined whether self-control helps explain why religiousness predicts lower substance use. Building on prior theoretical work, our studies suggest that self-control mediates the relationship between religiousness and a variety of substance-use behaviors. Study 1 showed that daily prayer predicted lower alcohol use on subsequent days. In Study 2, religiousness related to lower alcohol use, which was mediated by self-control.
Studies investigating the brain in relation to religious experiences via neuroimaging tools have increased considerably. Most assume without verification that religious experience (e.g., prayer) while inside an imaging machine is the same as in normal settings. Addressing the validity of this assumption, we utilized a mock fMRI to compare self-reported typical prayer experience and 3 experimental conditions (silent room, initial fMRI, and acclimated fMRI). Forty-two individuals participated.