Approximately 90% of the world’s population is involved in some spiritual/religious practice, and this dimension has a relevant role in life. Many studies demonstrate the associations between spirituality/religiosity (S/R), and physical, mental, and social health. Systematic reviews have indicated positive associations; however, the mechanisms behind religious coping are not fully understood. The present study aimed to examine the role of religious affiliation in general (ordinary) and health-related decisions. A nationwide, population-based, cross-sectional study was conducted in Brazil using a self-administered online survey. How much religious affiliation influences decision making was investigated. A total of 1133 participants were included, who were classified as Catholics (43.9%), Evangelicals (18.7%), spiritualists (12.8%), non-religious (11.9%), and others (12.7%). Most participants (66.5%) believed that their religious affiliations had moderate to high influences on their decisions. Participants rated the influence as high in marriage (62.7%), in donations (60.1%), in volunteering (55%), in friendships (53.9%), and in work (50.5%). Concerning health-related decisions, the influence was rated as high in drug use (45.2%), in accepting medical recommendations (45%), and in smoking (43.2%). The influence of religious affiliation on general decision making was significantly correlated for dietary restrictions (r
= 0.462), alcohol consumption (r
= 0.458), drug use (r
= 0.441), tobacco consumption (r
= 0.456), and refusal of medical recommendations (r
= 0.314). Improving the understanding of how a patient’s beliefs, practices, and experiences affect their health may help healthcare practitioners to take into account religious considerations, not only regarding influences on habits but also regarding adherence to medical treatment advice.
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