This paper was presented at
Psychology: The Indian Contribution
National Conference on
Indian Psychology, Yoga and Consciousness
organised by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research
at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education
Pondicherry, India, 10-13 December 2004

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Role of religion in health

B.N. Raveesh — Mysore.

A large body of evidence indicates that religious people enjoy better physical and mental health. Belief in the health benefits of religious and spiritual activities is so widespread that many think these activities should be incorporated into clinical practice. The aim of the present study was to learn about the religious beliefs of hospitalized inpatients and to assess the importance of utilizing religious beliefs in treatment. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 75 inpatients in a multi-specialty hospital in Mysore using a modified self-rating five-point Likert scale on religious attitudes. Among the important findings, 97 percent of respondents agreed that religious faith leads man in the right path, and more than 75 percent agreed that religious faith helps man accept factual truth and scientific facts. However, half of the respondents felt that religious faith cripples man’s power of freethinking. Three quarters disagreed that faith in religion is a superstition, and they also felt that religion alone shows the path to lead a healthy life individually as well as socially. Less than half of the subjects believed that God is involved in their illness, but sixty-five percent felt religion and health were interrelated. Ninety-three percent believed in the power of prayer in leading a healthy life, and that their physicians should also pray with them in the process of healing. Limitations of the study include a relatively small sample size. Comparative studies with other samples, and analysis of socio-economic status and kind of diseases would be useful in future studies.

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