Religion, Rituals, and Health

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Chapter 4
Religion, Rituals, and Health

Overview of Chapter Topics
• Introduction: Religion, spirituality, and ritual • Religion in the U.S. • Religion and health behaviors – Effect of religion on health-related behaviors – Religion and health outcomes – Religion and medical decisions

• Rituals in relation to health practices • Case Study: Cystic fibrosis in a Hasidic Jewish patient

Religion, Spirituality, and Ritual
• There is considerable overlap between religion and spirituality. • Religion: a belief in and respect for a supernatural power or powers, which is regarded as creator and governor of the universe, and a personal or institutionalized system grounded in such a belief or worship • Spirituality: the life force within each of us, and it refers to an individual’s attempt to find meaning and purpose in life

Religion, Spirituality, and Ritual
• Religion is more associated with behaviors that can be quantified than the more inchoate term, spirituality. • Religion can be categorized by denomination, so there is more agreement about the meaning of the term, and it can be more easily quantified (i.e., place of worship) • Similar overlap exists between religion and ritual. – Religion may include established rituals, but not all rituals are associated with a specific religion. – Consequently, this chapter examines the relationship between ritual and health separately from the relationship between religion and health.

Religion in the U.S.
• In 1999, 95% of population in U.S. reported a belief in God or higher power. • In a 2005 study, 57% of those queried stated that religion is very important in their lives, while some 28% stated that it is fairly important. • Since 1992, studies have found consistent rates of attendance at religious places of worship. • Religion and ethnicity may be loosely linked, but a person’s religious affiliation should not be assumed based on his/her ethnicity.

Religion and Health Behaviors
• Lifestyle is...
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