Prayer and reverence in naturalistic, aesthetic, and socio-moral contexts predicted fewer complications following coronary artery bypass

  • Amy L. Ai
  • Paul Wink
  • Terrence N. Tice
  • Steven F. Bolling
  • Marshall Shearer


This prospective study explores prayer, reverence, and other aspects of faith in postoperative complications and hospital length of stay of patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Alongside traditional religiousness measures, we examined sense of reverence in religious and secular contexts. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 177 patients 2 weeks before surgery at a medical center. Medical variables were retrieved from the national Society of Thoracic Surgeons’ Database. Logistic and multiple regression models were performed to predict outcomes. Prayer frequencies were associated with reduced complications but not hospitalization. Sense of reverence in secular contexts predicted fewer complications and shorter hospitalization. Controlling for complications reduced the initial influence of reverence on hospitalization, suggesting the potential mediation of complications. No interaction between demographics and faith factors was evident. The role of faith in medicine is complex and context-dependent. Future studies are needed on mediating factors.


Multi-faceted measures and effects of religion and spirituality Diverse faiths and sense of reverence in different context A sense of deep interconnectedness Spiritual seeking Prayer Cardiovascular diseases and coronary artery bypass surgery 



The authors are grateful for the reviewers’ comments. Amy L. Ai, PhD, was supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging (Grant 1 RO3 AGO 15686-01), the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Grant P50 AT00011), the John Templeton Foundation, and the Hartford Geriatric Faculty Scholar’s Program. The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of these organizations.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy L. Ai
    • 1
  • Paul Wink
    • 2
  • Terrence N. Tice
    • 3
  • Steven F. Bolling
    • 3
  • Marshall Shearer
    • 3
  1. 1.University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Wellesley CollegeWellesleyUSA
  3. 3.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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