Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Case for Socialized Medicine

From MNT: Medical New Today.

Religious, Spiritual Support Benefits Men And Women Facing Chronic Illness, MU Study Finds

Individuals who practice religion and spirituality report better physical and mental health than those who do not. To better understand this relationship and how spirituality/religion can be used for coping with significant health issues, University of Missouri researchers are examining what aspects of religion are most beneficial and for what populations. Now, MU health psychology researchers have found that religious and spiritual support improves health outcomes for both men and women who face chronic health conditions.

"Our findings reinforce the idea that religion/spirituality may help buffer the negative consequences of chronic health conditions," said Stephanie Reid-Arndt, associate professor of health psychology in the School of Health Professions. "We know that there are many ways of coping with stressful life situations, such as a chronic illness; involvement in religious/spiritual activities can be an effective coping strategy."

Religious and spiritual support includes care from congregations, spiritual interventions, such as religious counseling and forgiveness practices, and assistance from pastors and hospital chaplains. The recent publication from the MU Center for Religion and the Professions research group, authored by Reid-Arndt, found that religious support is associated with better mental health outcomes for women and with better physical and mental health for men.
In a society that believes in individualism, it's good to find a group that will help you and your family in your time of need. It doesn't matter whether that group is your local Lion's Club, your Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall, or your Harvard Alumni buddies.

If you live in such a society and you're too poor to afford decent health care, then the group could save your life.

[Hat Tip: Uncommon Descent, although Denyse reaches a different conclusion.]


  1. Individuals who practice religion and spirituality report better physical and mental health than those who do not.

    Criticism number one: studies relying on self-reporting need to be taken with a grain of salt.

  2. Actually, I didn't notice any conclusion stated in that UD post. I think you're supposed to infer "Therefore you should make Jesus your BFF!" for yourself. Or something.

  3. To second Bayesian Bouffant, FCD's comment, I'd like to add;

    Wechsler et al. N Engl J Med 2011; 365:119-126

    "Although albuterol, but not the two placebo interventions, improved FEV1 in these patients with asthma, albuterol provided no incremental benefit with respect to the self-reported outcomes. Placebo effects can be clinically meaningful and can rival the effects of active medication in patients with asthma. However, from a clinical-management and research-design perspective, patient self-reports can be unreliable. An assessment of untreated responses in asthma may be essential in evaluating patient-reported outcomes."