Why Religion and Spirituality Matter for Public Health

Evidence, Implications, and Resources

  • Doug Oman

Part of the Religion, Spirituality and Health: A Social Scientific Approach book series (RELSPHE, volume 2)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. Evidence Base

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 17-17
    2. Doug Oman, Rachel Morello-Frosch
      Pages 139-152
    3. Doug Oman, Lee W. Riley
      Pages 153-163
    4. Doug Oman, Timothy T. Brown
      Pages 191-210
    5. Doug Oman, David Lukoff
      Pages 225-243
  3. Implications for Public Health Practice

  4. Implications for Educating of Public Health Professionals

  5. Concluding Chapters

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 469-476

About this book


This volume reviews the exploding religion/spirituality (R/S) and health literature from a population health perspective. It emphasizes the distinctive Public Health concern for promoting health and preventing disease in societies, nations, and communities, as well as individuals. Part I offers a rigorous review of mainstream biomedical and social scientific theory and evidence on R/S-health relations. Addressing key gaps in previous literature, it reviews evidence from a population health viewpoint, surveying pertinent findings and theories from the perspective of Public Health subfields that range from Environmental Health Sciences to Public Health Nutrition to Health Policy & Management and Public Health Education. In Part II, practitioners describe in detail how attending to R/S factors enhances the work of clinicians and community health practitioners. R/S provides an additional  set of concepts and tools to address opportunities and challenges ranging from behavior and institutional change to education, policy, and advocacy. Part III empowers educators, analyzing pedagogical needs and offering diverse short chapters by faculty who teach R/S-health connections in many nationally top-ranked Schools of Public Health. International and global perspectives are highlighted in a concluding chapter and many places throughout the volume.

 This book addresses a pressing need for Public Health research, practice and teaching: A substantial evidence base now links religious and spiritual (R/S) factors to health. In the past 20 years, over 100 systematic reviews and 30 meta-analyses on R/S-health were published in refereed journals. But despite this explosion of interest, R/S factors remain neglected in Public Health teaching and research. Public Health lags behind related fields such as medicine, psychology, and nursing, where R/S factors receive more attention. This book can help Public Health catch up. It offers abundant key resources to empower public health professionals, instructors, and students to address R/S, serving at once as a course text, a field manual and a research handbook.


Community Health and Spirituality Environmental Health and Spirituality Health Care and Spirituality Health Education and Spirituality Health Policy and Spirituality Medicine and Spirituality Mental Health and Spirituality Public Health and Spirituality Public Health and Religion Religion, Spirituality, and Health

Editors and affiliations

  • Doug Oman
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-73965-6
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-73966-3
  • Buy this book on publisher's site