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Spirituality may enhance physical, psychological and cognitive well being.

Spirituality is considered an important aspect of wellness. Research suggests that it may lead to enhanced psychological well being, reduce stress, depression and anxiety, and improve the capacity to deal with adversity. Other benefits identified include:

  • Emotion regulation
  • Decreased rate of cognitive decline of Alzheimer's patients
  • Increased sense of self and self-steem
  • Increased levels or optimism, purpose and positive change

In some cases, spirituality has negative effects such as increased anger, anxiety and depression, particularly in environments that consider negative events God's punishment to moral failure.

One study of individuals recovering from substance abuse found that higher levels of religious faith and spirituality were associated with a more optimistic life orientation, greater perceived social support, higher resilience to stress, and lower levels of anxiety.

A review of the literature found that spirituality and religiosity in Persons living with Sickle Cell Disease may be significant in coping with the disease, managing pain, affecting hospitalizations, and affecting quality of life.

Additional studies suggest tegular spiritual practice is associated with higher remission of addictionsThe connection between religion/spirituality and deviance, was first made by Durkheim who defined socially expected behaviors as norms. He explained that deviance, like substance abuse, is due in large part to the absence of norms, and concluded that spirituality lowers deviance by preserving norms and social bonds.

A study of relapse rates among 2,947 clients concludes that those with low spirituality have higher relapse rates and those with high spirituality have higher remission rates, with crack use being the sole exception. More specifically, the study found significant (7%-21%) differences in terms of cocaine, heroin, alcohol, and marijuana relapse as a function of five areas:

  • Strength of religious beliefs
  • Frequency of attending religious services
  • Frequency of reading religious books
  • Frequency of watching religious programs
  • Frequency of meditation/prayer

Of these five areas, the highest marker was attendance to religious services, which is consistent with the social bond theory.


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