An Examination of Religiosity: Influences, Perspectives and Health Implications



Series: Religion and Spirituality
BISAC: REL000000

By the last 3 decades, consistent scientific research has proved that the spiritual-religious dimension is strongly related to human health. Since then, this field and its applications are progressively growing and developing, through: psycho-neuro-immunological-endocrine research; curricular disciplines on medical schools; the bio-psycho-social-spiritual approach as standard for patient-centered integrative healthcare; complementary therapies derived from spiritual traditions became valuable allies; hospitals developing policies to respect spiritual values and necessities; faith-based interventions cooperating with psychosocial initiatives. Each of these movements meets the patients’ demands for a comprehensive healthcare with a human approach.

However, most healthcare professionals were not educated within the view derived from recent research associating religiosity and health. At the other hand, clergymen tend to receive little or none information about health issues during their theological graduation.

Notwithstanding progress in including the religious dimension in the clinical context, there are still many significant obstacles for a real transformation. In this context, “An Examination of Religiosity – Influences, Perspectives and Health Implications” aspires to disseminate the ideal form of clinical healthcare, based on the best available scientific evidence.

This work does not have the goal of being exhaustive, but rather aims to be a reliable reference to accompany a paradigm shift. The chapters are original manuscripts of high-standard methodological quality, selected among authors from Austria, Brazil, Egypt, Poland, and the United States. The book starts with a historical trajectory and the current state-of-the-art of spirituality-religiosity as a clinical therapeutic resource. The following chapters explore the relationships between spirituality and religiosity in the areas of physical and mental health in many populations and groups: the general population, college students, older adults, cancer patients, and bereaved parents. The final chapters bring intriguing and challenging models about phenomena involving the nonlocal mind and the brain-independent consciousness.

The target audience includes professionals, students and researchers on the fields of clinical healthcare (physicians, nurses, psychologists, among others), multi-professional patient care (social workers, hospital managers, among others), and pastoral support for ill people (professional chaplains, community clergymen, among others).
(Imprint: Nova)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

(Marcelo Saad and Roberta de Medeiros, Brazil)

Chapter 1. Spirituality-religiosity as a clinical therapeutic resource – historical trajectory and current state of the art
(Silvia Cristina Borragini Abuchaim, Luis Garcia Alonso and Rita Maria Lino Tarcia, Brazil)

Chapter 2. Relationships between religiosity, obesity, lifestyle behaviors, and co-morbidities, Part I: A literature review
(Jennifer A. Boisvert and W. Andrew Harrell, U.S.)

Chapter 3. Relationships between religiosity, obesity, lifestyle behaviors, and co-morbidities, Part II: A quantitative study
(Jennifer A. Boisvert and W. Andrew Harrell, U.S.)

Chapter 4. Association of religiosity with optimism, physical and mental health in Egyptian college students
(Ahmed M. Abdel-Khalek, Egypt)

Chapter 5. The health assessment as a moderator in the relationship between the religious meaning system, personal meaning profile and attitude towards death among Polish older adults
(Paweł Brudek, Dariusz Krok, Marcin Sękowski and Stanisława Steuden, Poland)

Chapter 6. Religiosity and illness acceptance in cancer patients: the mediating role of coping styles
(Dariusz Krok, Paweł Brudek as[nd Ewa Telka, Poland)

Chapter 7. Dreams and the influence of the belief in life after death on the well-being and construction of meaning in parental bereavement
(Natasha Torlay Parente and Denise Gimenez Ramos, Brazil)

Chapter 8. The old-new view of consciousness: a review of philosophical and scientific approaches to consciousness
(Rejane Spiegelberg-Planer, Austria)

Chapter 9. Spiritism and medicine – experiences from the Brazilian Spiritist Medical Model for a paradigm shift in healthcare
(Marcelo Saad and Roberta de Medeiros, Brazil)


Keywords: spirituality and health, religiosity and health, humanities, medical philosophy, public health, mind-body relationships

– clinical healthcare (physicians, nurses, psychologists, among others),
– multi-professional patient care (social workers, hospital managers, among others), and
– pastoral support for ill people (professional chaplains, community clergymen, among others).

“This is an outstanding resource for physicians and health professionals interested in better understanding the interplay between religion and medicine. This book offers a comprehensive overview of the field through enlightening chapters written to offer to the reader both a practical and theoretical approach.” – AURO DEL GIGLIO. MD, PhD (Brazil). President of Brazilian Association of Palliative Care. Former Governor of the Brazil Chapter, American College of Physicians. Writer on Humanism and Judaism subjects.

“This exceptional work, by following the scholar rigor of quality, is another inestimable piece to contribute on the rescue of the human dimension of healthcare. I particularly appreciated the logical and didactical sequence of the chapters, and how the mind-brain problem was scientifically approached on the last ones.” – RONILDA IYAKEMI RIBEIRO. Psychologist, PhD (Brazil). Professor, Faculty of Psychology, University of S. Paulo. Member of the Psychology and Religion Working Group. Representative on the Interreligious Forum for a Culture of Peace and Freedom of Belief.

“A help for us, while responsible for the education of future physicians, through bringing the dimension of spirituality, to make up the integrality of care. A reference to be adopted on our academic Discipline of Spirituality and Thanatology and on our forthcoming specialization on Interfaith Chaplaincy.” – PAULO C. N. FONTÃO. MD, MSc (Brazil). Coordinator Professor, Discipline of Spirituality and Thanatology, Santa Marcelina School of Medicine. Advisor for Family and Community Medicine of the Federal Council of Medicine.

“This is a book we were waiting for – it restores the broken mosaic of the human being. Material worthy to be included in the recommended bibliography of our programs on Palas Athena Association, where we promote the rapprochement of cultures and the knowledge sharing.” – <strong>LIA DISKIN (Brazil). Journalist, writer and international lecturer. Coordinator of the Committee for the Decade of Peace, in partnership with UNESCO. Coordinator of the visits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Brazil.

“In past, it was not easy for me, as a physician, to stand alone for a Discipline of Spirituality on a medical school. Therefore, I am enthusiastically looking forward at the potential of this work for the advancement of the Spirituality-and-Health binomial understanding, for either teaching, research and assistance purposes.” – <strong>ALEXANDRE SERAFIM. MD, MSc (Brazil). Coordinator Professor of the Discipline of Medicine and Spirituality, Department of Medicine, University of Taubate. Instructor on the Order of the Guardians of Humanity.

“An important reading not only for health practitioners, but also for religious ministers of all faiths engaged in pastoral care for sick people. Among the various differentials in this book, the diversity of worldviews, coming from researchers of different countries, makes the work richer.” – JOSE BIZON. MSc, Catholic Canon (Brazil). Full Professor, Faculty of Theology, Pontifical Catholic University of S. Paulo. Ecclesiastical Advisor for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue, Brazilian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“Congratulations on the magnificent book, which concentrates so diverse and attractive aspects of this important theme, the Spirituality-Health relationship. A reference for professionals of all healthcare areas.” -MARGARETH ROSE PRIEL. MD, PhD (Brazil). Specialized in Bioethics and Pastoral Practice of Health. Participant of the Technical Chamber for Bioethics of the Regional Council of Medicine, State of S. Paulo. Professor in research methodology, and bioethics.

“I had a few opportunities to participate in projects on spirituality and health with Dr. Marcelo Saad, the main editor. Once again, he collected and compiled information on this matter from unique scholars with a variety of views. All readers, whatever their fields of activity, will find much to expand their knowledge in this book.” – ALEXANDER MOREIRA-ALMEIDA. MD, PhD (Brazil). Professor of Psychiatry at Federal University of Juiz de Fora. Coordinator of the Special Group Religion, Spirituality and Psychiatry, at the World Psychiatric Association.

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