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Does Your Doctor Believe in God?

Some scientists may question the power of prayer, but most American doctors don't when it comes to spirituality and religion.

A recent survey polled more than 1,100 physicians about their religious beliefs insofar as how they influence health care. And, as they often do, the numbers speak louder than words here. For example, a mere 1 percent believe religion has a negative effect on a patient's health and 2 percent perceive it as having no influence at all.

On the other hand, however, 54 percent of doctors say God can occasionally affect a patient's health and a third believed heart attack, infections and death can be prevented, thanks to a patient's spiritual or religious beliefs. And, 90 percent of the survey group who had strong levels of faith believed spirituality and religion helps patients better cope with their problems (even though 38 percent felt religious beliefs can lead to negative emotions.

Just like a family prayer shared across generations, faith does matter when it comes to healing, even in the saddest of times. Journaling can also help you get to the source of what's troubling you and your health too.

Archives of Internal Medicine, Vol. 167, No. 7, April 9, 2007: 649-654

The Ledger April 17, 2007

New York Times April 17, 2007 Registration Required