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Satisfaction of Spiritual Needs and Self-Rated Health among Churchgoers

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SummaryResearch indicates that greater involvement in religion may be associated with better physical health. The purpose of this study is to see if the satisfaction of spiritual needs is associated with health. This model that contains the following core hypotheses: (1) Individuals who attend church more often are more likely to receive spiritual support from fellow church members than people who attend worship services less frequently (spiritual support is informal encouragement from fellow church members to adopt and implement religious issues in daily life); (2) receiving more spiritual support is associated with stronger feelings of belonging in a congregation; (3) individuals who feel they belong in their congregations are more likely to feel their spiritual needs have been met; and (4) people who feel their spiritual needs have been met are more likely to rate their health in a favorable manner. The data provide support for each of these relationships.

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32. FN1 1 We are well aware of the evolving literature that seeks to distinguish spirituality from religion (e.g., Zinnbauer & Pargament, 2005). Our study is clearly not the place to get embroiled in this debate. The data for our study come from the U.S. Congregational Life Survey, which is a nationwide sample of people who attend worship services in religious institutions. Yet the questions that were developed for this study were framed in terms of spiritual needs. Because questions on spiritual needs were assessed in a religious setting, we assume the terms “religious” and “spiritual” are used interchangeably by study participants. It is for this reason that we use the two terms interchangeably throughout this study, as well.
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/content/journals/10.1163/15736121-12341279
2014-02-10
2015-09-04

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