Health Benefit of Believing God Cares About You

A new study from chaplains George Fitchett and Patricia Murphy of the Rush University Medical Center found that clinically depressed people who believe in a personal and caring God respond better to medical treatment for their illness than do those who don’t believe in a concerned God.
As Murphy, who’s also a professor of religion, health, and human values at Rush, notes:

The positive response to medication had little to do with the feeling of hope that typically accompanies spiritual belief. It was tied specifically to the belief that a Supreme Being cared.
For people diagnosed with clinical depression, medication certainly plays an important role in reducing symptoms. But when treating persons diagnosed with depression, clinicians need to be aware of the role of religion in their patients’ lives. It is an important resource in planning their care.

Category: Health


One Response

  1. Tom Rees says:

    This is the enhanced placebo effect, which is particularly important in treating mild-to-moderate depression. Interesting to see that it comes through stronger in believers in a personal god, since that hooks into other research showing that fatalistic religious believers have greater confidence in the efficacy of medical treatment.

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