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Religion benefits traumatic brain injury victims, Wayne State University research finds
Date:6/27/2011

DETROIT Brigid Waldron-Perrine, Ph.D., a recent graduate from Wayne State University, and her mentor, Lisa J. Rapport, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Wayne State University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, found that if traumatic brain injury (TBI) victims feel close to a higher power, it can help them rehabilitate. The study was recently published in Rehabilitation Psychology.

Traumatic brain injury is a disruption of normal brain function after a head injury and affects 1.7 million Americans annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those struggling with the long-term effects of TBI are at a heightened risk for mental and physical problems. Such problems can significantly inhibit rehabilitation outcomes and are therefore important to address in the context of rehabilitation efforts. And when TBI leaves people feeling stressed, less satisfied with life and functionally dependent on others, rehabilitation is the only option.

"Among healthy adults, religion and spirituality have shown strong association with improved life satisfaction and physical and mental health outcomes," said Waldron-Perrine. But research about religion's effect on TBI rehabilitation in particular is lacking.

To fill this void, Waldron-Perrine interviewed and completed neuropsychological tests on 88 individuals diagnosed with TBI victims, most of whom were male, African American Christians. Participants also completed a neuropsychological measure of their cognitive abilities. A significant other of each TBI victim also participated and reported on the injured individual's functional status.

Waldron-Perrine found that most participants who reported higher levels of religious well-being (a connection to a higher power) had better emotional and physical rehabilitation outcomes. But public religious activities or practice and existential well-being a sense that life has a purpose apart from any religious refer
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Contact: Julie O'Connor
julie.oconnor@wayne.edu
313-577-8845
Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research
Source:Eurekalert

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