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Religions 2010, 1(1), 28-53;

Medicine for the Spirit: Religious Coping in Individuals with Medical Conditions

Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio 43403, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 October 2010 / Revised: 11 November 2010 / Accepted: 11 November 2010 / Published: 12 November 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality and Health)
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Religious coping now represents a key variable of interest in research on health outcomes, not only because many individuals turn to their faith in times of illness, but also because studies have frequently found that religious coping is associated with desirable health outcomes. The purpose of this article is to familiarize readers with recent investigations of religious coping in samples with medical conditions. The present article will begin by describing a conceptual model of religious coping. The article will then provide data on the prevalence of religious coping in a range of samples. After presenting findings that illustrate the general relationship between religious coping and health outcomes, the article will review more specific pathways through which religious coping is thought to impact health. These pathways include shaping individuals’ active coping with health problems, influencing patients’ emotional responses to illness, fostering social support, and facilitating meaning making. This article will also address the darker side of religious coping, describing forms of coping that are linked to negative outcomes. Examples of religious coping interventions will also be reviewed. Finally, we will close with suggestions for future work in this important field of research. View Full-Text
Keywords: religious coping; health; spiritual struggle religious coping; health; spiritual struggle
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Cummings, J.P.; Pargament, K.I. Medicine for the Spirit: Religious Coping in Individuals with Medical Conditions. Religions 2010, 1, 28-53.

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