The Duke University Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health offers a great research citation list (click here to visit). I’m looking forward to reviewing all of the studies, but for now here are some of the ones that caught my attention:
Religious patients with generalized anxiety disorder were given religious psychotherapy in addition to supportive psychotherapy anxiolytic drugs. Those receiving religious psychotherapy showed significantly more rapid improvement in anxiety symptoms than those who received supportive psychotherapy and drugs only. Thus, religious patients may require a different form of psychotherapy.
(Azhar, M.Z., Varma, S.L., & Dharap, A.S. (1994). Religious psychotherapy in anxiety disorder patients. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 90, 1-3.)
Increased total peripheral resistance (TPR) has been implicated as playing an important role in the early development of essential hypertension. This study shows that TPR decreased significantly during Transcendental Meditation (TM). Decreases in vasoconstrictive tone during TM may be the hemodynamic mechanism responsible for the reduction of high blood pressure that, over time, many TM practicers experience.
(Barnes, B.A., Treiber, F.A., Turner, J. R., Davis, H., & Strong, WB (1999). Acute effects of transcendental meditation on hemodynamic functioning in middle aged adults. Psychosomatic Medicine, 61, 525-531.)
Detailing the (self-described) first time severe psychological stress has been shown to produce a measurable abnormality in immune function which is not obviously caused by hormonal changes.
(Bartrop, R.w., Lazarus, L., Luckhurst, E., Kiloh, L.G., & Penny, R. (1977). Depressed lymphocyte function after bereavement. Lancet, April 16, 834-836.)
Finding that both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were affected by religious commitment and religious activities.
(Al-Kandari YY (2003). Religiosity and its relation to blood pressure among selected Kuwaitis. Journal of Biosocial Science 35:463-472.)
For more spirituality and health studies, check out the Duke University Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health’s full research list here.