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Mechanisms In The Relation Between Religion And Health With Emphasis On Cardiovascular Reactivity To Stress

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Chapter Summary

Through the ages there has been interest in the questions of if and how religious practices and beliefs influence health. This chapter briefly discusses the scientific findings that address these questions and suggests that there is sufficient evidence of a relationship between religion and health. Then, focusing specifically on hypertension as one health outcome, it proposes a model to investigate the mechanism (i.e., how religion influences health) of cardiovascular reactivity as related to religiosity and cites preliminary research in support of this model. The chapter offers a rationale for how religiosity may, in fact, be related to reduced cardiovascular reactivity to stress and then cites preliminary data to support this hypothesis. Finally, proposals specifying the nature of subsequent empirical investigations are offered.

Keywords:cardiovascular reactivity; health; hypertension; religion; religiosity; stress



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