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VI Beliefs and Physical Health

Doordat geloof een invloed heeft op de mentale gezondheid, heeft het ook effect op de fysieke gezondheid door het verband tussen psychologische stress, gedrag en het fysieke lichaam.

a. Preventing Cardiovascular Disease.

Goldbourt, U., Yaari, S., & Medalie, J .H. (1993). Factors predictive of longterm coronary heart disease mortality among 10,059 male Israeli civil servants and municipal employees. Cardiology, 82, 100-121. This was a prospective study of 10.059 Jewish males aged 40 or over working as civil servants or municipal employees in Israel. Subjects were first assessed in 1963 and mortality from heart disease (coronary artery disease) (CAD) was assessed in 1986 (23-year follow-up). Religious orthodoxy was measured by 3 items (religious vs. secular education; self-definition as orthodox believers, traditiona1 believers or secular believers; and frequency of synagogue attendance) summed to create an orthodoxy of belief index. The most orthodox group had lowest rate of mortality from CAD (38 vs. 61 per 10,000) and other causes (135 vs. 168 per 10,000) than did non-believers. The risk of death from CAD among most orthodox believers during the 23-year follow-up was at least 20% less than among non-orthodox Jews or non-believers. These results remained significant after controlling for age. blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, body mass index, and baseline coronary heart disease.

Koenig HG, George LK, Cohen HJ, Hays JC, Blazer DG, Larson DB.aISOJ1 DB, Larson DB (1998). The relationship between religious activities and blood pressure in older adults. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine 28.189-213. (noted earlier) This was a study of 4,000 randomly selected older adults in North Carolina participating in the NIA-sponsored EPESE study. Persons who both attended religious services regularly (reflecting belief) and who prayed/meditated regularly were 40% less likely to have diastolic hypertension than those who did not (p < .0001, after controlling for age, sex, race, education. Smoking, physical functioning, and body mass index). Among Black persons in the sample (54% of subjects) and younger elderly (ages 65-74), the effects on blood pressure were even greater. In these groups, religious activities at one wave predicted blood pressure levels three years later, after controlling for baseline blood pressure and other compounding variables.





b. Enhancing Recovery from Cardiac Surgery.

Oxman, T.E., Freeman, D.H., & Manheimer, E.D. (1995). Lack of social participation or religious strength and comfort as risk factors for death after cardiac surgery in the elderly. Psychosomatic Medicine, 57, 5-15. These investigators at Dartmouth followed 232 adults for six months after open-heart surgery, examining predictors of mortality.The mortality rate in persons with low social support who did not depend on their religious beliefs for strength was 14 times that of persons with a strong support network who relied heavily on religion, after other covariates were controlled. Even when social factors were accounted for, persons who depended on religious beliefs were only about one-third as likely to die as those who did not.

Goldbourt, U., Yaari, S., & Medalie, J .H. (1993). Factors predictive of longterm coronary heart disease mortality among 10,059 male Israeli civil servants and municipal employees. Cardiology, 82, 100-121. This was a prospective study of 10.059 Jewish males aged 40 or over working as civil servants or municipal employees in Israel. Subjects were first assessed in 1963 and mortality from heart disease (coronary artery disease) (CAD) was assessed in 1986 (23-year follow-up). Religious orthodoxy was measured by 3 items (religious vs. secular education; self-definition as orthodox believers, traditiona1 believers or secular believers; and frequency of synagogue attendance) summed to create an orthodoxy of belief index. The most orthodox group had lowest rate of mortality from CAD (38 vs. 61 per 10,000) and other causes (135 vs. 168 per 10,000) than did non-believers. The risk of death from CAD among most orthodox believers during the 23-year follow-up was at least 20% less than among non-orthodox Jews or non-believers. These results remained significant after controlling for age. blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, body mass index, and baseline coronary heart disease.





c. Preventing cancer.

Dwyer, J.W., Clarke, L.L., & Miller, M.K. (1990). The effect of religious concentration and affiliation on county cancer mortality rates. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 31, 185-202. These investigators used county-level cancer mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics (3,063 counties) for 1968-1970, 1971-1974 and 1975-1980 to examine the relationship between religious affiliation and death from cancer: Investigators found that religion (defined as % of population with full membership or as degree of religious conservativeness) had a significant impact on mortality rates from cancer, even after controlling for 15 factors known to affect cancer mortality. Conservative protestants and Mormons had the lowest mortality rates and counties with higher concentrations of Jews or liberal protestants had the highest cancer mortality. Investigators concluded that the general population in areas with high concentrations of religious participants may experience health benefits resulting from diminished exposure to or increased social disapproval of behaviors related to cancer mortality .





d. Enhancing Immune system Functioning.

Koenig HG, Cohen HJ, George LK, Hays JC, Larson DB, Blazer DG (1997). Attendance at religious services, interleukin-6, and other biological indicators of immune function in older adults. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine 27: 233-250. First study to examine the relationship between religious activities and Immune system functioning. Investigators found that frequent religious attendance (reflecting religious belief) in 1986, 1989, and 1992 predicted lower plasma interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels in a sample of 1.718 older adults followed over six years. IL-6 levels are elevated in patients with AIDS, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, lymphoma and other cancers. High levels of IL-6 indicate a weakened immune system. Findings suggest that persons who attend church frequently have stronger immune systems (lower levels of IL-6) than less frequent attenders, and may help explain why better physica1 health is characteristic of frequent church attenders.

Woods, T .E., Antoni, M.H., Ironso,. G.H.. & Kling, D.W.(1998). Religiosity is associated with affective and immune status in symptomatic HIV-infected gay men; Journal of Psychosomatic Research, in press. (noted earlier) Study of l06 HIV seropositive gay men; religious activities -prayer or meditation, religious attendance, spiritual discussions, reading religious/spiritual literature (indicators of religious belief) - were associated with significantly higher CD4+ counts and CD4+ percentages (T-helper-inducer cells) (controlling for self-efficacy and active coping with health situation, using regression modeling).





e. Extending Overall Survival.

Strawbridge, W.J., Cohen, R.D., Shema, S.J., & Kaplan, G.A. (1997). Frequent attendance at religious services and mortality over 28 years. American Journal of Public Health. 87: 957-961. First study to examine the relationship between religious activities and Immune system functioning. Investigators found that frequent religious attendance (reflecting religious belief) in 1986, 1989, and 1992 predicted lower plasma interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels in a sample of 1.718 older adults followed over six years. IL-6 levels are elevated in patients with AIDS, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, lymphoma and other cancers. High levels of IL-6 indicate a weakened immune system. Findings suggest that persons who attend church frequently have stronger immune systems (lower levels of IL-6) than less frequent attenders, and may help explain why better physical health is characteristic of frequent church attenders.

Woods, T .E., Antoni, M.H., Ironso,. G.H.. & Kling, D.W.(1998). Major study by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley reporting results of a 28-year follow-up of 5,000 adults involved in the Berkeley Human Population Laboratory. Mortality for persons attending religious services once/week or more often (reflecting religious belief) was almost 25% lower than for persons attending religious services less frequently; for women, the mortality rate was reduced by 35%. Frequent attenders were more likely to stop smoking, increase exercising, increase social contacts, and stay married; even after these factors were controlled for, however, the mortality difference persisted.

Multiple other studies (Duke, UC, and Michigan studies) soon to be published. The effects of religious attendance (once per week or more frequent) on survival are equivalent to 40-60 pack years of cigarette smoking.





f. Explanatory Style.

Optimists vs pessimists: survival rate among medical patients over a 30-year period. [see comments.] [erratum appears in Mayo Clin Proc 2000 Mar;75(3):318.].
Authors Maruta T. Colligan RC. Malinchoc M. Offord KP.
Institution Division of Adult Psychiatry, Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN 55905, USA.
Comments Comment in: Mayo Clin Proc. 2000 Feb;75(2):133-4 ; 10683649
Source Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 75(2):140-3, 2000 Feb.
Abstract OBJECTIVE: To examine explanatory style (how people explain life events) as a risk factor for early death, using scores from the Optimism-Pessimism scale of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). SUBJECTS AND METHODS: A total of 839 patients completed the MMPI between 1962 and 1965 as self-referred general medical patients. Thirty years later, the vital status of each of these patients was ascertained. RESULTS: Of the 839 patients, 124 were classified as optimistic, 518 as mixed, and 197 as pessimistic. Follow-up was available for 723 patients. Among these, a 10-point T-score increase on the Optimism-Pessimism scale (e.g., more pessimistic) was associated with a 19% increase in the risk of mortality. CONCLUSION: A pessimistic explanatory style, as measured by the Optimism-Pessimism scale of the MMPI, is significantly associated with mortality.

 
 
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