Navigation Links
Losing your religion deemed unhealthy
Date:9/22/2010

People who leave strict religious groups are more likely to say their health is worse than members who remain in the group, according to a Penn State researcher.

The percentage of people who left a strict religious group and reported they were in excellent health was about half that of people who stayed in the group, said Christopher Scheitle, senior research assistant, in sociology.

"Previous research showed some association between belonging to a religious group and positive health outcomes," Scheitle said. "We became interested in what would happen to your health if you left a religious group. Would people demonstrate any negative health outcomes?"

About 40 percent of members of strict religious groups reported they were in excellent health, according to the study. However, only 25 percent of members in those groups who switched to another religion reported they were in excellent health. The percentage of the strict religious group members who dropped out of religion completely and said their health was excellent fell to 20 percent. The difference between switchers and non-switchers, in reference to health, is statistically significant for the strict groups. The researchers reported their findings in the current issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

The study also indicated that people who were raised and remained in strict religious groups were more likely to report they were in better health than people affiliated with other religious groups. Scheitle, working with Amy Adamczyk, assistant professor of sociology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at the graduate center, City University of New York, defined strict religions, such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Jehovah's Witnesses, as exclusive groups with strict social, moral and physical guidelines for members.

The researchers suggested several possible reasons for the declining health conditions reported by former members.

Strict groups typically require members to abstain from unhealthy behaviors, such as alcohol and tobacco use. These groups also create both formal and informal support structures to promote positive health, according to Scheitle. The social bonds of belonging to the group might be another factor for better health.

"The social solidarity and social support could have psychological benefits," Scheitle said. "That could then lead to certain health benefits."

Religious beliefs may also promote better health by providing hope and encouraging positive thinking.

Besides losing connection to these health benefits, exiting a religious group may increase stressful situations.

"You could lose your friends or your family becomes upset when you leave, leading to psychological stress and negative health outcomes," said Scheitle.

The study does not necessarily mean that leaving a group causes poor health, Scheitle said. Poor health actually could prompt a member to leave the group. Strict sectarian groups require active involvement in meetings, services and social events that hinder participation by unhealthy members. An unhealthy member may also question membership in a group that promotes the belief in an all-powerful being who has failed to heal his or her condition.

For the study, Scheitle examined a total of 30,523 cases collected from 1972 through 2006 in the General Social Surveys. Of those, more than 10,000 switched to another religion and more than 2,000 dropped out of religion completely. A total of 423 strict religious group members were studied with approximately 96 members switching to other religions and about 54 members no longer affiliated with any religion. The Opinion National Research Center has conducted this survey annually or biennially since 1972. Scheitle said drawing deeper conclusions about the health issues from leaving a strict religious group would require more exact studies. Those longitudinal studies are new in the religious field, he added.


'/>"/>

Contact: Matt Swayne
mls29@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. 1 in 5 Parents Missed Work for H1N1 School Closings: Survey
2. Closing the science-to-policy gap in maternal and child health in Africa
3. Revolutionary scale makes losing weight easier than ever
4. Millions Are Losing Their Hearing Unnecessarily; Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Is Always Preventable, Says HearUSA Audiologist
5. Latest Research Shows that Green Tea and Pomegranate are Helpful in Losing Weight after Menopause, according to Dr. Ershadi
6. SGIC Study Finds Drivers Are Losing Their Cool At School
7. New study reveals long delays and variability are losing the UK research and jobs
8. Labopharm announces closing of US$20 million public offering of units
9. Scientists Pinpoint Area of Brain That Fears Losing Money
10. How does religion affect psychiatric treatment?
11. Low-Dose Platelet Transfusions Deemed Safe
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/11/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... upcoming Feb. 23 webinar, “Intel’s Direct-to-Employee Benefit Model: A Case Study for Plans ... Catholic health care system that’s partnering with Intel on value-based health benefits program ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... Australia (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... potential ?" motivational speaker, trainer and author Ray Clarke poses a question as ... personal fulfillment . In his book, "Being in the Being" (published by Partridge ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... City, FL (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 ... ... announced the commencement of a master charity program created to assist the people ... 60 days, working closely with nonprofit organizations and community leaders. Their hope is ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... multi-specialty practice Village Family Practice , will be presenting at the 2016 ... in Las Vegas, Nev. , During his session, “ Coding for Care: ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... ... The annual list showcases the 20 Most Promising SharePoint Solution Providers in ... commitment to the SharePoint ecosystem. A panel of experts and members of CIOReview’s editorial ... and promote technology entrepreneurship. , The survey was made at the end of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... 2016  MiMedx Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: MDXG ), ... and other birth tissues, human skin and bone, and ... advanced products and therapies, announced today that it will ... Conference in New York , NY.  ... J. Senken , Chief Financial Officer and Chris ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  AfterPill.com is reporting ... recommend alcohol abstinence for all women who are at ... the U.S. each year and raises the risks of ... --> According to the Guttmacher Institute, ... of women of child-bearing age, who have sex without ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... SEOUL, South Korea , Feb. 11, 2016 Wearable posture tracker, ALEX , has ... project fully funded and just seven days left to go, ALEX is said to be delivered to ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160211/332248 ... ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: