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Special Issue "Religiosity, Spirituality and Health"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Jitse P. van Dijk
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Department of Community and Occupational Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, 9713 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
2. Olomouc University Social Health Institute, Palacky University Olomouc, 771 11 Olomouc, Czech Republic
3. Graduate School Kosice Institute for Society and Health, P.J. Safarik University in Kosice, 040 11 Kosice, Slovakia
Interests: mental health; adolescents; Roma health; religiosity/spirituality and health
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Klára Maliňáková
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Olomouc University Social Health Institute, Palacký University Olomouc, 771 11 Olomouc, Czech Republic
Interests: religiosity/spirituality and health; sensory processing sensitivity; mental health; adolescents

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Religiosity and spirituality (R/S) are connected with many areas of human life and are being recognised, especially in recent decades, as protective factors regarding human health. A growing number of studies report positive associations of R/S with mental health, e.g., a higher life satisfaction and meaning in life, a lower prevalence of anxiety and depression, lower suicidal tendencies, a lower substance abuse and a better cognitive functioning. Moreover, research shows also a lower health risk-taking behaviour and positive associations with physical health, e.g., a better functioning of the circulatory system, better immune and endocrine functions, a better self-rated health and a lower mortality. However, a minority of the studies still report either mixed or negative findings. There are several possible explanations of these discrepancies. First, both religiosity and spirituality are hard to measure multidimensional constructs and so measurement problems can contribute to the heterogeneity of results. Moreover, research on R/S is often oversimplified, not taking into account different dimensions of these constructs. Second, most of the research on associations of R/S with health has been performed in predominantly religious countries and there is significantly less literature documenting the associations in other cultural environments, such as secular countries. Third, some ways of experiencing R/S has already been associated with worse health conditions, and so it seems important to take into account also so-called religious and spiritual struggles and negative religious coping. Thus, a better understanding the underlying mechanisms may add to our insight into the concept of R/S and its meaning for health and may have more practical implications for the work of psychotherapists, counsellors, psychiatrists, carers and other workers in helping professions.

This Special Issue seeks research papers on the associations of R/S with health that will contribute to a deeper understanding of the nature of these associations and of the conditions under which is R/S protective for health. It especially welcomes papers describing associations of R/S with health in secular countries, papers documenting consequences of measurement problems in R/S, papers focusing on less explored aspects of R/S, e.g., a God image, and papers that are connecting R/S with a broader context of one’s personality and a way of living.

Prof. Dr. Jitse P. van Dijk
Dr. Klára Maliňáková
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Religiosity 
  • Spirituality 
  • Health 
  • Secular countries 
  • Types of spirituality 
  • Religious and spiritual struggles 
  • Religious coping 
  • Dimensions of R/S 
  • God image

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Czech and Slovak Members of Religious Institutes: Their Health in Comparison to the General Population
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 9944; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18199944 - 22 Sep 2021
Viewed by 650
Abstract
This study examines the general health of consecrated persons (CP) in the Czech Republic (CZ) and in Slovakia (SK) compared to control samples of the Czech population. The sample of 293 CP participants (age: M = 47.52, SD = 9.57, females: 78.88%, 180 [...] Read more.
This study examines the general health of consecrated persons (CP) in the Czech Republic (CZ) and in Slovakia (SK) compared to control samples of the Czech population. The sample of 293 CP participants (age: M = 47.52, SD = 9.57, females: 78.88%, 180 Czechs, 213 Slovaks) was compared with two control samples, one of which was nationally representative. Comparing CP with the general population, we measured the frequency of recent health complaints, the occurrence of chronic illnesses, general health and the individual chronotype. Compared to the representative sample, CP had a higher chance of suffering from pelvis minor pain and obesity but a lower chance of diabetes. Furthermore, CP had higher odds of having worse general health. Comparing “larks” with “night owls” among CP, the “night owls” had a significantly higher chance of suffering from worse general health. “Night owl” CP also seem to suffer more from backache and depression/anxiety and to have more problems with falling asleep. Compared to the overall society, CP in CZ and SK tend to have similar or worse general health. The results differ from the findings in the US, pointing to the positive health effects of the spiritual experience and structured daily routine of CP. Thus, this study shows the importance of more detailed research on the way of life of Czech and Slovak CP to determine the factors with the most negative health effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religiosity, Spirituality and Health)
Article
Coping during COVID-19 Pandemic in Saudi Community: Religious Attitudes, Practices and Associated Factors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8651; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18168651 - 16 Aug 2021
Viewed by 707
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many societies’ life aspects and activities including social and Islamic practices; more attention should be given to investigate the interaction between Islamic worships and the spread of the disease. Here, we performed a cross-sectional study using an online [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many societies’ life aspects and activities including social and Islamic practices; more attention should be given to investigate the interaction between Islamic worships and the spread of the disease. Here, we performed a cross-sectional study using an online questionnaire to assess the preventive Islamic attitudes and practices during the COVID-19 lockdown period from the Saudi publics’ perspectives. Mann-Whitney, Kruskal and logistic regression tests were used to analyze the data. The results revealed that most participants had positive Islamic attitudes and practices. However, elders and males were less obeyed to preventive measures during performing worship (p < 0.05). While younger, females and not married were less obeyed when dealing with COVID-19 related death (p < 0.05). Even though, elders were less likely to have poor social and Islamic practices concerning adherence to preventive measures during the pandemic (OR = 0.38; 95% CI: 0.176–0.816) than younger. Furthermore, males, Saudi participants, lower education level, lower Islamic attitudes scores were more likely to have poor social and Islamic practices concerning adherence to preventive measures during the pandemic (OR = 1.65; 95% CI: 1.126–2.421; OR = 1.57; 95% CI: 1.067–2.322; OR = 3.09; 95% CI: 1.721–5.563; and OR = 1.89; 95% CI: 1.309–2.753, respectively), than their corresponding targeted counterparts. Thus, despite the high preventative perceptions of Islamic attitudes and practices of the Saudi community, our study highlighted some risk groups with less preventative practices. Thus, targeted health education interventions are highly recommended for these risk groups to enhance the commitment to government instructions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religiosity, Spirituality and Health)
Article
The Importance of Spirituality for Women Facing Breast Cancer Diagnosis: A Qualitative Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6415; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18126415 - 13 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1031
Abstract
Breast cancer remains significantly distressing and produces profound changes in women’s lives. Spirituality is an important resource at the time of diagnosis and treatment decisions. This qualitative study aimed to explore the spiritual experience of women diagnosed with breast cancer and the considerations [...] Read more.
Breast cancer remains significantly distressing and produces profound changes in women’s lives. Spirituality is an important resource at the time of diagnosis and treatment decisions. This qualitative study aimed to explore the spiritual experience of women diagnosed with breast cancer and the considerations of spirituality in health care using the existential phenomenology approach. The sampling procedure was intentional, based on the study’s exclusion and inclusion criteria. Forty women participated in individual interviews. The research was conducted in the outpatient clinic of a reference federal university hospital in South-Eastern Brazil. Throughout the research process, ethical principles were carefully followed. Five themes were identified: (1) meaning of spirituality–source of spiritual strength, (2) well-being in the relationship with God, (3) well-being in religious fellowship, (4) values and purpose of life–meaning in life, and (5) spirituality as a foundation to continue. Respect for patient’s spiritual values was recognised as a fundamental principle in health care. Spirituality was revealed as a source of support during the complex process of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Thus, health care professionals that value and encourage spirituality are needed, favouring better patient response to the diagnosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religiosity, Spirituality and Health)
Article
Religiosity, Emotions, Resilience, and Wellness during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Study of Taiwanese University Students
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6381; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18126381 - 12 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1199
Abstract
One hard fact of COVID-19 is the uncertainty of all things. Anchoring on the assumption that the religiosity of an individual has a profound impact on their emotions, resilience, and wellness, this study investigated the levels of the centrality of religiosity, emotions towards [...] Read more.
One hard fact of COVID-19 is the uncertainty of all things. Anchoring on the assumption that the religiosity of an individual has a profound impact on their emotions, resilience, and wellness, this study investigated the levels of the centrality of religiosity, emotions towards God, resilience, and wellness among 399 Taiwanese university students. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, factor analysis, group comparisons, multiple regression, and mediation analysis. Findings showed that most of the participants were religious. Furthermore, the 16 emotions towards God were successfully factored into three distinct sub-groups, namely: pleasant, unpleasant, and moral valence, which were later found to be quite related to Asian religions. More importantly, the results suggested that the resiliency of an individual can be attributed to their belief in the existence of God or the Divine, while the wellness indicators of security and satisfaction were related to one’s religiosity. Lastly, structural equation modeling showed that resilience fully mediated the relationship between the ideology dimension of religiosity and the security and satisfaction component of wellness. In addition to discussing these significant results, this paper also included some implications of the study results, particularly the importance of religiosity and emotions toward God or the Divine in sustaining resilience and promoting wellness, especially in the context of crisis, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religiosity, Spirituality and Health)
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Article
Religious Attendance in a Secular Country Protects Adolescents from Health-Risk Behavior Only in Combination with Participation in Church Activities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9372; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17249372 - 15 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 867
Abstract
Religiosity and spirituality have been considered to be protective factors of adolescent health-risk behavior (HRB). The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between adolescents’ HRB and their religiosity, taking into account their parents’ faith and their own participation in church [...] Read more.
Religiosity and spirituality have been considered to be protective factors of adolescent health-risk behavior (HRB). The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between adolescents’ HRB and their religiosity, taking into account their parents’ faith and their own participation in church activities. A nationally representative sample (n = 13377, 13.5 ± 1.7 years, 49.1% boys) of Czech adolescents participated in the 2018 Health Behavior in School-aged Children cross-sectional study. We measured religious attendance (RA), faith importance (FI) (both of respondents and their parents), participation in church activities and adolescent HRB (tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis use and early sexual intercourse). We found that neither RA nor FI of participants or their parents had a significant effect on adolescents’ HRB. Compared to attending respondents who participate in church activities (AP), non-attending respondents who participate in church activities were more likely to report smoking and early sexual intercourse, with odds ratios (ORs) ranging from 3.14 (1.54–6.39) to 3.82 (1.99–7.35). Compared to AP, non-attending respondents who did not participate in church activities were more likely to report early sexual intercourse, with OR = 1.90 (1.14–3.17). Thus, our findings show that RA does not protect adolescents from HRB; they suggest that RA protects adolescents from HRB only in combination with participation in church activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religiosity, Spirituality and Health)
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Article
Childhood Trauma and Experience in Close Relationships Are Associated with the God Image: Does Religiosity Make a Difference?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 8841; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17238841 - 28 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 960
Abstract
Religiosity and spirituality (R/S) and some of their specific aspects are associated with health. A negatively perceived relationship with God, which has adverse health outcomes, can be formed by human attachment both in childhood and adulthood. The aim of this study was to [...] Read more.
Religiosity and spirituality (R/S) and some of their specific aspects are associated with health. A negatively perceived relationship with God, which has adverse health outcomes, can be formed by human attachment both in childhood and adulthood. The aim of this study was to assess the associations of childhood trauma (CT) and experience in close relationships (ECR) with the God image in a secular environment by religiosity. A national representative sample of Czech adults (n = 1800, 51.1 ± 17.2 years; 43.5% men) participated in a survey. We measured CT (Childhood Trauma Questionnaire), ECR (Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised Questionnaire), image of God (questions from the 2005 Baylor Survey) and religiosity. Our results showed associations of CT and ECR with God images. Respondents who experienced CT were less likely to describe God as loving, always present and forgiving. Religious respondents were less likely to report positive God images with odds ratios (ORs) from 0.78 (0.66–0.94) to 0.95 (0.91–0.99), nonreligious respondents reported negative God images with ORs from 1.03 (1.00–1.06) to 1.22 (1.08–1.37). We found CT and problems in close relationships in adulthood are associated with a less positive God image, especially in nonreligious people. Understanding these associations may help prevent detrimental health outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religiosity, Spirituality and Health)

Review

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Review
Spiritual Needs Assessment in Post-Secular Contexts: An Integrative Review of Questionnaires
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(24), 12898; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph182412898 - 07 Dec 2021
Viewed by 189
Abstract
Research across healthcare contexts has shown that, if provided appropriately, spiritual care can be of significant benefit to patients. It can be challenging, however, to incorporate spiritual care in daily practice, not least in post-secular, culturally entwined, and pluralist contexts. The aim of [...] Read more.
Research across healthcare contexts has shown that, if provided appropriately, spiritual care can be of significant benefit to patients. It can be challenging, however, to incorporate spiritual care in daily practice, not least in post-secular, culturally entwined, and pluralist contexts. The aim of this integrative review was to locate, evaluate and discuss spiritual-needs questionnaires from the post-secular perspective in relation to their applicability in secular healthcare. Eleven questionnaires were evaluated and discussed with a focus on religious/spiritual (RS) wording, local culturally entwined and pluralist contexts, and on whether a consensual understanding between patient and healthcare professional could be expected through RS wording. By highlighting some factors involved in implementing a spiritual-needs questionnaire in diverse cultural and vernacular contexts, this article can assist by providing a general guideline. This article offers an approach to the international exchange and implementation of knowledge, experiences, and best practice in relation to the use of spiritual needs-assessment questionnaires in post-secular contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religiosity, Spirituality and Health)
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