Relationships Among Religiousness, Spirituality, and Health for Individuals with Stroke

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The current study evaluated the relationships among spiritual beliefs, religious practices, physical health, and mental health for individuals with stroke. A cross-sectional analysis of 63 individuals evaluated in outpatient settings, including 32 individuals with stroke and 31 healthy controls was conducted through administration of the Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness/Spirituality (BMMRS) and the Medical Outcomes Scale-Short Form 36 (SF-36). For individuals with stroke, the SF-36 General Mental Health scale was significantly correlated with only the BMMRS Religious and Spiritual Coping scale (r = .43; p < .05). No other BMMRS factors were significantly correlated with SF-36 mental or physical health scales. Non-significant trends indicated spiritual factors were primarily related to mental versus physical health. This study suggests spiritual belief that a higher power will assist in coping with illness/disability is associated with better mental health following stroke, but neither religious nor spiritual factors are associated with physical health outcomes. The results are consistent with research that suggests that spiritual beliefs may protect individuals with stroke from experiencing emotional distress.

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