Sunday, April 17, 2005

God and his health benefits


A preliminary study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago shows that a belief in God may improve a person’s physical health.
The researchers are launching the first comprehensive study to examine the relationship between religious attitudes and health.
Measurable effects of strong spirituality, regardless of religion, are improved physiological functioning, health and well-being, especially in difficult times, team leader John Cacioppo said.
These benefits of belief in God accrue over time and are an important aspect of dealing with ageing, he said.
“The study is based on an evolutionary model of humans as social beings in which the motive to form and maintain attachments and interpersonal relationships is in part genetically determined,” Cacioppo said. As a result, people are born with the capacity for spirituality and humanity, he explained. The work will explore how this inclination to see a spiritual understanding varies among individuals.
Among the researchers’ initial discoveries is that African Americans, who say they have a strong relationship with God, were significantly less likely to report depressive symptoms than those who did not.
Among white participants in the study, there was very little impact of religious belief and reported depression.