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Schnall et al., In Press
CITATION: Schnall, E., Wassertheil-Smoller, S., Swencionis, C., Zemon, V., Tinker, L., O'Sullivan, M.J., Van Horn, L., & Goodwin, M. (in press) The relationship between religion and cardiovascular outcomes and all-cause mortality in the women's health initiative observational study. Psychology & Health

pdfSchnall et al., In Press
ABSTRACT: Some studies suggest that religiosity may be related to health outcomes. The current investigation, involving 92,395 Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study participants, examined the prospective association of religious affiliation, religious service attendance, and strength and comfort from religion with subsequent cardiovascular outcomes and death. Baseline characteristics and responses to religiosity questions were collected at enrollment. Women were followed for an average of 7.7 years and outcomes were judged by physician adjudicators. Cox proportional regression models were run to obtain hazard ratios (HR) of religiosity variables and coronary heart disease (CHD) and death. After controlling for demographic, socioeconomic, and prior health variables, self-report of religious affiliation, frequent religious service attendance, and religious strength and comfort were associated with reduced risk of all-cause mortality [HR for religious affiliation 0.84; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.75–0.93] [HR for service attendance 0.80; CI: 0.73–0.87] [HR for strength and comfort 0.89; CI: 0.82–0.98]. However, these religion-related variables were not associated with reduced risk of CHD morbidity and mortality. In fact, self-report of religiosity was associated with increased risk of this outcome in some models. In conclusion, although self-report measures of religiosity were not associated with reduced risk of CHD morbidity and mortality, these measures were associated with reduced risk of all-cause mortality.

McCullough & Willoughby, In Press
CITATION: McCullough, M.E., & Willoughby, B.L.B. (in press). Religion, self-regulation, and self-control: Associations, explanations and implications. Psychological Bulletin.

pdfMcCullough & Willoughby, In Press
ABSTRACT: Many of the links of religiousness with health, well-being, and social behavior may be due to religion's influences on self-control or self-regulation. Using Carver and Scheier's (1998) theory of self-regulation as a framework for organizing the empirical research, the authors review evidence relevant to 6 propositions: (a) that religion can promote self-control; (b) that religion influences how goals are selected, pursued, and organized; (c) that religion facilitates self monitoring; (d) that religion fosters the development of self-regulatory strength; (e) that religion prescribes and fosters proficiency in a suite of self-regulatory behaviors; and (f) that some of religion's influences on health, well-being, and social behavior may result from religion's influences on self-control and self-regulation. The authors conclude with suggestions for future research.

Inzlicht, McGregor, Hirsh & Nash, 2009
CITATION: Inzlicht, M., McGregor, I., Hirsh J.B., & Nash, K. (2009) Neural markers of religious conviction. Psychological Science, 20(3), 385-392.

pdfInzlicht, McGregor, Hirsh & Nash, 2009
ABSTRACT: Many people derive peace of mind and purpose in life from their belief in God. For others, however, religion provides unsatisfying answers. Are there brain differences between believers and nonbelievers? Here we show that religious conviction is marked by reduced reactivity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a cortical system that is involved in the experience of anxiety and is important for self-regulation. In two studies, we recorded electroencephalographic neural reactivity in the ACC as participants completed a Stroop task. Results showed that stronger religious zeal and greater belief in God were associated with less firing of the ACC in response to error and with commission of fewer errors. These correlations remained strong even after we controlled for personality and cognitive ability. These results suggest that religious conviction provides a framework for understanding and acting within one's environment, thereby acting as a buffer against anxiety and minimizing the experience of error.

Rasic, et al., 2009
CITATION: Rasic, D.T., Shay-Lee, B., Elias, B., Katz, L.Y., Enns, M., & Sareen, J. (2009). Spirituality, religion and suicidal behavior in a nationally representative sample. Journal of Affective Disorders, 114, 32–40

pdfRasic, et al., 2009
ABSTRACT: Background: Studies show that religion and spirituality are associated with decreased rates of mental illness. Some studies show decreased rates of suicide in religious populations, but the association between religion, spirituality and suicidal behaviors in people with mental illness are understudied. Few studies have examined the influence of social supports in these relationships. Methods: Data were drawn fromthe Canadian Community Health Survey 1.2. Logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between spiritual values and religious worship attendance with twelve-month suicidal ideation and attempts. Regressions were adjusted for sociodemographic factors and social supports. Interaction variables were then tested to examine possible effect modification by presence of a mental disorder. Results: Identifying oneself as spiritual was associated with decreased odds of suicide attempt (adjusted odds ratio-1 [AOR-1]=0.65, CI: 0.44–0.96) but was not significant after adjusting for social supports. Religious attendance was associated with decreased odds of suicidal ideation (AOR-1=0.64, 95% CI: 0.53–0.77) but not after adjusting for social supports. Religious attendance was associated with decreased odds of suicide attempt and remained significant after adjusting for social supports (AOR 2=0.38, 95% CI: 0.17–0.89). No significant interaction effects were observed between any of the tested mental disorders and religion, spirituality and suicidal behavior. Limitations: This was a cross-sectional survey and causality of relationships cannot be inferred.

Sherman, Plante, Simonton, Latif, & Anaissie, 2009
CITATION: Sherman, A.C., Plante, T.G., Simonton, S., Latif, U., & Anaissie, E.J. (2009). Prospective study of religious coping among patients undergoing autologous stem cell transplantation. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 32, 118-128.

pdfSherman, Plante, Simonton, Latif, & Anaissie, 2009
ABSTRACT:Considerable attention has focused on relationships between religious or spiritual coping and health outcomes among cancer patients. However, few studies have differentiated among discrete dimensions of religious coping, and there have been surprisingly few prospective investigations. Negative or conflicted aspects of religious coping, in particular, represent a compelling area for investigation. This prospective study examined negative religious coping, positive religious coping, and general religious orientation among 94 myeloma patients undergoing autologous stem cell transplantation. Participants were assessed during stem cell collection, and again in the immediate aftermath of transplantation, when risks for morbidity are most elevated. Outcomes included Brief Symptom Inventory anxiety and depression and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Bone Marrow Transplant (FACT-BMI) scales. Negative religious coping at baseline predicted worse post-transplant anxiety, depression, emotional well-being, and transplant-related concerns, after controlling for outcome scores at baseline and other significant covariates. Post-transplant physical well-being was predicted by an interaction between baseline positive and negative religious coping. Results suggest that religious struggle may contribute to adverse changes in health outcomes for transplant patients, and highlight the importance of negative or strained religious responses to illness.

Masters, 2008
CITATION: Masters, K.S. (2008). Mechanisms in the relation between religion and health with emphasis on cardiovascular reactivity to stress. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, 19, 91-115.

pdfMasters, 2008
ABSTRACT: There is evidence of a relation between religiosity and health. Some of the strongest support for this relationship is found among markers of cardiovascular functioning and related pathologies (e.g., primary hypertension). The specific behavioral, social, and psychophysiological mechanisms that influence this relationship have not been thoroughly tested in empirical studies. A general model of mechanisms through which religiosity and spirituality may influence health is presented followed by specific elucidation of the possible role of cardiovascular reactivity to stress as a link between religiosity and cardiovascular functioning. Preliminary supportive empirical evidence for this pathway is also provided. Investigators are encouraged to use this model as a guide when conducting investigations on religion and health and to specifically explore how religion may influence psychological processes that in turn influence cardiovascular functioning as a response to varying stressors.

Huppert, Siev & Kushner, 2007
CITATION: Huppert, J.D., Siev, J. & Kushner, E.S. (2007). When Religion and Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder Collide: Treating Scrupulosity in Ultra-Orthodox Jews. Journal of Clinical Psycholology, 63, 925–941.

pdfHuppert, Siev & Kushner, 2007
ABSTRACT: Evidence-based practice suggests that clinicians should integrate the best available research with clinical judgment and patient values. Treatment of religious patients with scrupulosity provides a paradigmatic example of such integration. The purpose of this study is to describe potential adaptations to make exposure and response prevention, the first-line treatment for obsessive–compulsive disorder, acceptable and consistent with the values of members of the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. We believe that understanding these challenges will enhance the clinician’s ability to increase patient motivation and participation in therapy and thereby provide more effective treatment for these and other religious patients.

Siev & Cohen, 2007
CITATION: Siev, J., & Cohen, A.B. (2007). Is thought–action fusion related to religiosity? Differences between Christians and Jews. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45, 829–837.

pdfSiev & Cohen, 2007
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between thought–action fusion (TAF) and religiosity in Christians and Jews (Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform). There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that religiosity is related to obsessive cognitions in Christian samples, but conceptual and empirical ambiguities complicate the interpretation of that literature and its application to non-Christian groups. As predicted on the basis of previous research, Christians scored higher than Jews on moral TAF. This effect was large and not explained by differences in self-reported religiosity. The Jewish groups did not differ from each other. Furthermore, religiosity was significantly associated with TAF only within the Christian group. These results qualify the presumed association between religiosity and obsessive cognitions. General religiosity is not associated with TAF; it rather depends on what religious group. Moreover, large group differences in a supposed maladaptive construct without evidence of corresponding differences in prevalence rates call into question the assumption that TAF is always a marker of pathology.

Bowen, Baetz & D'Arcy, 2006
CITATION: Bowen, R., Baetz, M. & D’Arcy, C. (2006).  Self-rated importance of religion predicts one-year outcome of patients with panic disorder. Depression and Anxiety, 23(5), 266-273.

pdfBowen, Baetz & D'Arcy, 2006
ABSTRACT: Cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication are efficacious treatments for panic disorder, but individual attributes such as coping and motivation are important determinants of treatment response. A sample of 56 patients with panic disorder, treated with group cognitive-behavioral therapy, were reassessed 6 months and 12 months after initial assessment. We studied the effect of self-rated importance of religion, perceived stress, self-esteem, mastery, and interpersonal alienation on outcome as measured by the General Severity Index of the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI.GSI). Importance of religion was a predictor of BSI.GSI symptom improvement at 1 year. Over time, improvement was seen for the religion is very important subgroup in the BSI.GSI and Perceived Stress Scales. This study suggests that one mechanism by which high importance of religion reduces psychiatric symptoms is through reducing perceived stress.

McConnel, Pargament, Ellison, & Flannelly, 2006
CITATION: McConnel, K.M., Pargament, K.I., Ellison, C.G., & Flannelly, K.J. (2006) Examining the links between spiritual struggles and symptoms of psychopathology in a national sample. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62, 1469-1484.

pdfMcConnel, Pargament, Ellison, & Flannelly, 2006
ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the relationship between spiritual struggles and various types of psychopathology symptoms in individuals who had and had not suffered from a recent illness. Participants completed selfreport measures of religious variables and symptoms of psychopathology. Spiritual struggles were assessed by a measure of negative religious coping. As predicted, negative religious coping was significantly linked to various forms of psychopathology, including anxiety, phobic anxiety, depression, paranoid ideation, obsessive–compulsiveness, and somatization, after controlling for demographic and religious variables. In addition, the relationship between negative religious coping and anxiety and phobic anxiety was stronger for individuals who had experienced a recent illness.
These results have implications for assessments and interventions targeting spiritual struggles, especially in medical settings. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: National Institutes of Health Newsletter, Winter, 2005
CITATION: Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Volume XII, Number 1: Winter 2005

pdfNational Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: National Institutes of Health Newsletter, Winter, 2005
TITLE: Prayer and Spirituality in Health: Ancient Practices, Modern Science

Wachholtz & Pargament, 2005
CITATION: Wachholtz, A.B. & Pargament, K.I. (2005). Is spirituality a critical ingredient of meditation? Comparing the effects of spiritual meditation, secular meditation, and relaxation on spiritual, psychological, cardiac, and pain outcomes. Journal of Behavioral Medicine 28(4),369-384.

pdfWachholtz & Pargament, 2005
ABSTRACT: This study compared secular and spiritual forms of meditation to assess the benefits of a spiritual intervention. Participants were taught a meditation or relaxation technique to practice for 20 min a day for two weeks. After two weeks, participants returned to the lab, practiced their technique for 20 min, and placed their hand in a cold-water bath of 2°C for as long as they could endure it. The length of time that individuals kept their hand in the water bath was measured. Pain, anxiety, mood, and the spiritual health were assessed following the two week intervention. Significant interactions occurred (time×group); the Spiritual Meditation group had greater decreases in anxiety and more positive mood, spiritual health, and spiritual experiences than the other two groups. They also tolerated pain almost twice as long as the other two groups.

Jaffe, Eisenback, Neumark & Manor, 2005
CITATION: Jaffe, D.H., Eisenbach, Z., Neumark, Y.D., & Manor, O (2005). Does living in a religiously affiliated neighborhood lower mortality? Annals of Epidemiology, 15(10), 804-810.

pdfJaffe, Eisenback, Neumark & Manor, 2005
ABSTRACT: To examine the effects of living in religiously affiliated and unaffiliated neighborhoods on mortality risks above that of individual risk factors, to determine if this effect behaves in a dose-response manner, and to examine the interaction between community wealth and religious affiliation. METHODS: Multilevel modeling of data from the Israel Longitudinal Mortality Study was used to assess mortality differentials based on neighborhood religious affiliation. Data were analyzed for 141,683 individuals aged 45 to 89 years and living in 882 statistical areas. Overall, 29,709 deaths were reported during the 9.5-year follow-up period. RESULTS: After accounting for individual demographic and socioeconomic (SES) characteristics as well as area-SES, men and women living in religiously affiliated neighborhoods had lower mortality rates than those living in unaffiliated areas (odds ratio(men) = 0.75; 95% CI, 0.67-0.84; odds ratio(women) = 0.86; 95% CI, 0.67-0.96). For men, this relationship behaved in a dose-response manner. Furthermore, the beneficial effects on mortality of living in a religiously affiliated area were consistent across age groups, middle-aged and elderly. Lastly, effect modification of area-SES on area-religion was observed for women only, whereby for women living in higher-SES areas, religiosity had no effect on mortality. CONCLUSIONS: The characteristics of one's immediate neighborhood, namely, community wealth and religious affiliation, have valuable health implications that should be included when assessing mortality risks.

Weisbuch-Remington, Berry Mendes, Seery & Blascovich, 2005
CITATION: Weisbuch-Remington, M., Berry Mendes, W., Seery, M.D. & Blascovich, J. (2005).  The nonconscious influence of religious symbols in motivated performance situations. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31(9), 1203-1216.

pdfWeisbuch-Remington, Berry Mendes, Seery & Blascovich, 2005
ABSTRACT: Anthropological, sociological, and psychological theories suggest that religious symbols should influence motivational processes during performance of goal-relevant tasks. In two experiments, positive and negative religious (Christian) symbols were presented outside of participants' conscious awareness. These symbols influenced cardiovascular responses consistent with challenge and threat states during a subsequent speech task, particularly when the speech topic concerned participants' mortality, and only for Christian participants; similar images lacking Christian meaning were not influential. Results suggested that these effects were due to the learned meaning of the symbols and point to the importance of religion as a coping resource.

Barnes, Powell-Griner, McFann & Nahin, 2004
CITATION: Barnes, P.M., Powell-Griner, E., McFann K., & Nahin, R.L. (May 27, 2004). Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults: United States, 2002. Advance Data from Vital and Health Statistics, Vol. 343, US Department of Health and Human Services, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics.

pdfBarnes, Powell-Griner, McFann & Nahin, 2004
ABSTRACT: Objective - This report presents selected estimates of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among U.S. adults, using data from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Methods—Data for the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population were collected using computer-assisted personal interviews (CAPI). This report is based on 31,044 interviews of adults age 18 years and over. Statistics shown in this report were age adjusted to the year 2000 U.S. standard population. Results—Sixty-two percent of adults used some form of CAM therapy during the past 12 months when the definition of CAM therapy included prayer specifically for health reasons. When prayer specifically for health reasons was excluded from the definition, 36% of adults used some form of CAM therapy during the past 12 months. The 10 most commonly used CAM therapies during the past 12 months were use of prayer specifically for one’s own health (43.0%), prayer by others for one’s own health (24.4%), natural products (18.9%), deep breathing exercises (11.6%), participation in prayer group for one’s own health (9.6%), meditation (7.6%), chiropractic care (7.5%), yoga (5.1%), massage (5.0%), and diet-based therapies (3.5%). Use of CAM varies by sex, race, geographic region, health insurance status, use of cigarettes or alcohol, and hospitalization. CAM was most often used to treat back pain or back problems, head or chest colds, neck pain or neck problems, joint pain or stiffness, and anxiety or depression. Adults age 18 years or over who used CAM were more likely to do so because they believed that CAM combined with conventional medical treatments would help (54.9%) and/or they thought it would be interesting to try (50.1%). Most adults who have ever used CAM have used it within the past 12 months, although there is variation by CAM therapy.

Emmons & McCullough, 2003
CITATION: Emmons, R.A., & McCullough, M.E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377–38.

pdfEmmons & McCullough, 2003
ABSTRACT: The effect of a grateful outlook on psychological and physical well-being was examined. In Studies 1 and 2, participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 experimental conditions (hassles, gratitude listing, and either neutral life events or social comparison); they then kept weekly (Study 1) or daily (Study 2) records of their moods, coping behaviors, health behaviors, physical symptoms, and overall life appraisals. In a 3rd study, persons with neuromuscular disease were randomly assigned to either the gratitude condition or to a control condition. The gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being across several, though not all, of the outcome measures across the 3 studies, relative to the comparison groups. The effect on positive affect appeared to be the most robust finding. Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.

Smith, McCullough & Poll, 2003
CITATION: Smith, T.B., McCullough, M.E. and Poll, J. (2003). Religiousness and depression: Evidence for a main effect and the moderating influence of stressful life events. Psychological Bulletin, 129, (4), 614-636.

pdfSmith, McCullough & Poll, 2003
ABSTRACT: The association between religiousness and depressive symptoms was examined with meta-analytic methods across 147 independent investigations (N _ 98,975). Across all studies, the correlation between religiousness and depressive symptoms was –.096, indicating that greater religiousness is mildly associated with fewer symptoms. The results were not moderated by gender, age, or ethnicity, but the religiousness– depression association was stronger in studies involving people who were undergoing stress due to recent life events. The results were also moderated by the type of measure of religiousness used in the study, with extrinsic religious orientation and negative religious coping (e.g., avoiding difficulties through religious activities, blaming God for difficulties) associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms, the opposite direction of the overall findings.

McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002
CITATION: McCullough, M.E., Emmons, R.A., & Tsang, J. (2002). The grateful disposition: A conceptual and empirical topography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82(1),112–127

pdfMcCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002
ABSTRACT: In four studies, the authors examined the correlates of the disposition toward gratitude. Study 1 revealed that self-ratings and observer ratings of the grateful disposition are associated with positive affect and well-being, prosocial behaviors and traits, and religiousness/spirituality. Study 2 replicated these findings in a large nonstudent sample. Study 3 yielded similar results to Studies 1 and 2 and provided evidence that gratitude is negatively associated with envy and materialistic attitudes. Study 4 yielded evidence that these associations persist after controlling for Extraversion/positive affectivity, Neuroticism/negative affectivity, and Agreeableness. The development of the Gratitude Questionnaire, a unidimensional measure with good psychometric properties, is also described.

Pargament, Koenig, & Perez, 2000
CITATION: Pargament, K.I., Koenig, H.G., & Perez, L.M. (2000). The many methods of religious coping: Development and initial validation of the RCOPE. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 56, 519–543.

pdfPargament, Koenig, & Perez, 2000
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a new theoretically based measure thatwould assess the full range of religious copingmethods, including potentially helpful and harmful religious expressions. The RCOPE was tested on a large sample of college students who were coping with a significant negative life event. Factor analysis of the RCOPE in the college sample yielded factors largely consistent with the conceptualization and construction of the subscales. Confirmatory factor analysis of the RCOPE in a large sample of hospitalized elderly patients was moderately supportive of the initial factor structure. Results of regression analyses showed that religious coping accounted for significant unique variance in measures of adjustment (stress-related growth, religious outcome, physical health, mental health, and emotional distress) after controlling for the effects of demographics and global religious measures (frequency of prayer, church attendance, and religious salience). Better adjustmentwas related to a number of coping methods, such as benevolent religious reappraisals, religious forgiveness/purification, and seeking religious support. Poorer adjustment was associated with reappraisals of God’s powers, spiritual discontent, and punishing God reappraisals. The results suggest that the RCOPE may be useful to researchers and practitioners interested in a comprehensive assessment of religious coping and in a more complete integration of religious and spiritual dimensions in the process of counseling.

Ellis, 2000
CITATION: Ellis, A. (2000). Can rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) be effectively used with people who have devout beliefs in God and religion? Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 31(1), 29-33.

pdfEllis, 2000
ABSTRACT:Several writers on religion and psychotherapy claim that people who follow a "loving God" model and who see God as a partner who works with them to resolve their problems are less emotionally disturbed and can benefit more from "rational" systems of therapy than religionists who have a more negative view of God. Some authors have specifically written that rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) includes many religious philosophies and that the principles and practices of REBT are similar to those endorsed by certain kinds of devout religionists. In this article, the author describes the constructive philosophies of REBT and shows how they are similar to those of many religionists in regard to unconditional self-acceptance, high frustration tolerance, unconditional acceptance of others, the desire rather than the need for achievement and approval, and other mental health goals. It shows how REBT is compatible with some important religious views and can be used effectively with many clients who have absolutistic philosophies about God and religion.

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