Teleios Evaluates the Effect of Religion on Anxiety
By: Teleios Research
Teleios Research recently reviewed the peer-reviewed medical literature for clinical studies evaluating the influence of religious beliefs on anxiety (or stress) by using relevant search terms in PubMed and Cochrane databases.
There were 32 studies identified of which 25 were performed in traditionally Christian countries. In total 26, noted a positive relationship with God reduced anxiety. In contrast, 3 articles showed that a negative relationship with God worsened anxiety, and 3 noted no relationship of religion on anxiety.
This review showed that religion in general, religious training, spirituality, faith, prayer, and church-based social support were associated with reduced anxiety (stress). In many instances, depression also was helped. These effects were observed in both healthy individuals and in various patient populations. In addition, a number of studies demonstrated that religious-based interventions directed specifically towards religious persons were helpful in treating anxiety.
Furthermore, this effect was observed across different countries, cultures, healthy as well as unhealthy populations with a variety of diseases, and religions.
Dr. William C. Stewart, co-founder of Teleios, commented "Religion, and especially Christianity, since the great majority of countries where studies were Christian performed in our review, may help reduce anxiety. The reason this occurs was not specifically addressed in the reviewed articles but we suspect several mechanisms: first, the belief in an almighty God caring for a person's psychological suffering might provide comfort; second, the hope of an eternal life that surpasses the suffering on this earth might improve wellbeing; and third, socialization with others of the same faith, inside or outside a place of worship, might supply a positive distraction from a person's stress and a reminder of their religion's teachings."
This review suggests that religious practice and belief may assist individuals suffering with anxiety. Further research will hopefully provide better understanding of religious practices across cultures to enhance how clinicians can use this important aspect of patients' lives to help treat their patients.
Complete findings of this study as well as other Teleios research can be found on their website (www.teleiosresearch.com).
WC Stewart, MJ Wetselaar, JA Stewart, LA Nelson
About Teleios - Teleios is a non-profit foundation that seeks to demonstrate the truth of scripture and the Christian faith through scientific methods by providing evidence for the positive results of a biblically-based lifestyle.
Lindsay Nelson - Teleios Research