Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 806–817 | Cite as

Jewish Physicians’ Beliefs and Practices Regarding Religion/Spirituality in the Clinical Encounter

  • Robert M. Stern
  • Kenneth A. Rasinski
  • Farr A. Curlin
Original Paper


We used data from a 2003 survey of US physicians to examine differences between Jewish and other religiously affiliated physicians on 4-D of physicians’ beliefs and practices regarding religion and spirituality (R/S) in the clinical encounter. On each dimension, Jewish physicians ascribed less importance to the effect of R/S on health and a lesser role for physicians in addressing R/S issues. These effects were partially mediated by lower levels of religiosity among Jewish physicians and by differences in demographic and practice-level characteristics. The study provides a salient example of how religious affiliation can be an important independent predictor of physicians’ clinically-relevant beliefs and practices.


Religion Spirituality Judaism Physician Clinical encounter 



This work was supported by grants from the University of Chicago Summer Research Program, as well as the Greenwall Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (1 K23 AT002749). The funding agencies did not have any role in the design, conduct, analysis, and interpretation of the study, nor in the preparation of the manuscript. The authors are indebted to Michael Putman, Michael Combs, and Helen Shin for their constructive feedback on an earlier version of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert M. Stern
    • 1
  • Kenneth A. Rasinski
    • 2
  • Farr A. Curlin
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Pritzker School of MedicineThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Section of General Internal Medicine, Department of MedicineThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.MacLean Center for Clinical Medical EthicsThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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