Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 317–328 | Cite as

Religion, Health, and the Psychology of Religion: How the Research on Religion and Health Helps Us Understand Religion

  • James W. Jones


An increasing replication of studies find a correlation between religious belief and practice and mental and physical health and longevity. This paper discusses some of the implications of this research for the ways in which religion might understood psychologically. Most interpretations of this data focus on the presence of one or more mediating variables. This paper argues that the presence of these mediating factors helps us understand more precisely some of the ways in which religion actually does impact on human life and in what the psychological uniqueness of religion actually consists.

religion and health psychology of religion 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Antonovsky, A. (1987). Unraveling the Mystery of Health. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  2. Benson, H. (1996). Timeless Healing. New York: Scribner.Google Scholar
  3. Cacioppo, J., et al. (2002). Loneliness and health: Potential mechanisms, Psychosomatic Medicine, 64, 407-417.Google Scholar
  4. Carver, C., Scheier, M. and Weintraub, J. (1989). Assessing Coping Strategies, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 267-283.Google Scholar
  5. Cederblad et al. (1995). Coping with life span crisis. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 91, 322-330.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Chamberlain, T. and Hall, C. (2000). Realized Religion. Philadelphia: Templeton Foundation Press.Google Scholar
  7. Davidson, R. (2001). Mind, brain, and emotion, toward an affective neuroscience. Paper presented at NIH conference on the science of mind-body interactions, Tuesday, March, 27, 2001.Google Scholar
  8. Emmons, R. (1999). The Psychology of Ultimate Concerns. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  9. Exline, J. (2002). Stumbling Blocks on the Religious Road. Psychological Inquiry, 13(3), 182-189.Google Scholar
  10. George, L., Ellison, C. and Larson, D. (2002). Explaining the relationship between religion and health. Psychological Inquiry, 13(3), 190-200.Google Scholar
  11. Hunsberger et al. (2001). Religious versus non-religious socialization: Does religious background have implications for adjustment? International Journal for Psychology Of Religion, 11(2), 105-128.Google Scholar
  12. Koenig, McCullough and Larson (2001). Handbook of Religion and Health. New York: Oxford.Google Scholar
  13. King et al. (1994). Spiritual and religious beliefs in acute illness. Social Science and Medicine, 34(4), 631-636.Google Scholar
  14. Krause, Ellison, Shaw, Marcum and Boardman (2001). Church based social support and religious coping. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 40(4), 637-656.Google Scholar
  15. Krause, Ellison and Wulff (1998). Church based social support, negative interactions and wellbeing. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 37(4), 725-741.Google Scholar
  16. Levin, J. (1996). How prayer heals: A theoretical model. Alternative Therapies, 2(1), 66-73.Google Scholar
  17. Mahoney, A., Pargament, K., Jewell, T., Swank, A., Scott, E., Emery, E. and Rye, M. (1999). Marriage and the spiritual realm. Journal of Family Psychology, 15(3), 321-338.Google Scholar
  18. Marcus, P. (1998). The religious believer, the psychoanalytic intellectual and the challenge of sustaining the self in the concentration camps. Journal for the Psychoanalysis of Culture & Society, 3(1), 61-75.Google Scholar
  19. McCullough, M. (2001). Religious Involvement and Mortality. In Plante, T. and Sherman, A. (eds.), Faith and Health: Psychological Perspectives. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  20. McCullough, M., Hoyt, W., Larson, D., Koenig, H., and Thoresen, C. (2000). Religious involvement and mortality. Health Psychology, 19, 211-222.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Murray-Swank, Pargament and Mahoney (2000). The sanctification of sexuality in loving relationships. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC. NIH conference on the science of mind-body interactions, March, 2001.Google Scholar
  22. Pargament, K. (1997). The Psychology of Religious Coping. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  23. Pargament, K., Magyar, G. and Nichole Murray-Swank (in press). The sacred and the search for significance: Religion as a unique process. Journal of Social Issues.Google Scholar
  24. Pfiefer, (1995). Psychopathology and religious commitment. Psychopathology, 28, 70-77.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Powell, Shahabi and Thoresen (2003). Religion and Spirituality: Linkages to Physical Health. American Psychologist 58(1), 36-52. Prevention and Treatment, vol. 5, 2002.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Sherman and Simonton (2001). Religious involvement among cancer patients. In Plante, T. and Sherman, A. (eds.), Faith and Health: Psychological Perspectives. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  27. Sloan, R., Bagiella, E. and Powell, T. (2001). Without a prayer. In Plante, T. and Sherman, A. (eds.), Faith and Health: Psychological Perspectives. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  28. Strawbridge, W., Shema, S., Cohen, R., and Kaplan, G. (2001). Religious attendance increases survival by improving and maintaining good health behaviors, mental health, and social relationships. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 23, 68-74.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Strawbridge, W., Cohen, R., Shema, S. and Kaplan, G. (1997). Frequent attendance at religious services and mortality over 28 years. American Journal of Public Health, 87, 957-961.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Swank, Mahoney and Pargament (2000). The sanctification of parenting and its psychological implications. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  31. Tarakeshwar, N., Swank, A., Pargament, K., and Mahoney, A. (2001). The sanctification of nature and theological conservatism. Review of Religious Research, 42(4), 387-404.Google Scholar
  32. Tedeschi, R., Park, C., and Calhoun, L. (eds.), (1998). Post-Traumatic Growth, Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  33. Tix, A., Frazier, P. (1998). The use of religious coping during stressful life events. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 66, 411-422.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Worthington, Berry, and Parottt (2001). Unforgiveness, forgiveness, Religion, and Health. In Plante, T. and Sherman, A. (eds.), Faith and Health: Psychological Perspectives. New York: Guilford. 328 Journal of Religion and HealthGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Blanton-Peale Institute 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • James W. Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Rutgers University; Drew University; University of UppsalaSweden

Personalised recommendations