Perceptions of the Efficacy of Prayer and Conventional Medicine for Health Concerns
- 52 Downloads
Previous research has associated prayer practices with positive health outcomes, but few studies have examined: (a) the perceptions of prayer in relation to perceptions of the efficacy of conventional medicine, and (b) whether the perceptions of prayer efficacy differ based on illness type, context of prayer, and whether prayer is for the self or someone else. The current study surveyed 498 emerging adults at a public university. Conventional medicine was perceived as more effective for alleviating health concerns overall, but participants perceived prayer as most effective when performed in a group setting for someone else. Individuals perceived prayer as more effective than conventional medicine when they reported greater religious activity, lower health locus of control, and higher spiritual locus of control.
KeywordsPerceived efficacy Prayer Conventional medicine Health concerns
- Barna. (2016). Most Americans believe in supernatural healing. Retrieved from https://www.barna.com/research/americans-believe-supernatural-healing/.
- Brooks, A. C. (2006). Who really cares: The surprising truth about compassionate conservatism. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Buttrick, G. A. (1942). Prayer. New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury.Google Scholar
- Debnam, K., Holt, C. L., Clark, E. M., Roth, D. L., Foushee, H. R., Crowther, M., et al. (2012). Spiritual health locus of control and health behaviors in African Americans. American Journal of Health Behavior, 36(3), 360. https://doi.org/10.5993/ajhb.36.3.7.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Harris, F. (1999). Something within: Religion in African-American political activism. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Heiler, F. (1958). Prayer: A study in the history and psychology of religion. New York: Oxford University Press. (Original work published 1932).Google Scholar
- Holt, C. L., Roth, D. L., Clark, E. M., & Debnam, K. (2014). Positive self-perceptions as a mediator of religious involvement and health behaviors in a national sample of African Americans. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 37(1), 102–112. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-012-9472-7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- McCaffrey, A. M., Eisenberg, D. M., Legedza, A. T., Davis, R. B., & Phillips, R. S. (2004). Prayer for health concerns: Results of a national survey on prevalence and patterns of use. Archives of Internal Medicine, 164(8), 858–862. https://doi.org/10.1001/archinte.164.8.858.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- McCullough, M. E., Friedman, H. S., Enders, C. K., & Martin, L. R. (2009). Does devoutness delay death? Psychological investment in religion and its association with longevity in the Terman sample. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97(5), 866. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016366.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- NORC. (2014). General social survey. Illinois: NORC.Google Scholar
- Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. (2014). U.S. religious landscape study. Retrieved from http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/.
- Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. (2015). U.S. public becoming less religious. Retrieved from http://www.pewforum.org/2015/11/03/u-s-public-becoming-less-religious/.
- Poloma, M. M., & Gallup, G. H. (1991). Varieties of prayer: A survey report. Philadelphia: Trinity Press International.Google Scholar
- Putnam, R. D., & Campbell, D. E. (2010). American grace: How religion divides and unites us. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
- Richert, R. A., & Saide, A. R. (2018). Religious engagement. Invited chapter to appear in P. Leman (Ed.), The encyclopedia of child and adolescent development. London: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Rippentrop, A. E., Altmaier, E. M., Chen, J. J., Found, E. M., & Keffala, V. J. (2005). The relationship between religion/spirituality and physical health, mental health, and pain in a chronic pain population. Pain, 116(3), 311–321. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pain.2005.05.008.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Ross, L. E., Hall, I. J., Fairley, T. L., Taylor, Y. J., & Howard, D. L. (2008). Prayer and self-reported health among cancer survivors in the United States, National Health Interview Survey, 2002. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14(8), 931–938. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2007.0788.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Schnall, E., Kalkstein, S., Fitchett, G., Salmoirago-Blotcher, E., Ockene, J., Tindle, H. A., et al. (2012). Psychological and social characteristics associated with religiosity in women’s health initiative participants. Journal of Religion and Health, 51(1), 20–31. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-011-9549-6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Somlai, A. M., Kelly, J. A., Kalichman, S. C., Mulry, G., Sikkema, K. J., McAuliffe, T., et al. (1996). An empirical investigatio of the relationship between spirituality, coping, and emotional distress in people living with HIV infection and AIDS. The Journal of Pastoral Care, 50(2), 181–193. https://doi.org/10.1177/002234099605000206.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Wuthnow, R. (2004). Saving America?: Faith-based services and the future of civil society. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar