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Spirituality Predicts Health and Cardiovascular Responses to Stress in Young Adult Women

Kimberly A. Edmondson, Kathleen A. Lawler, Rebecca L. Jobe, Jarred W. Younger, Rachel L. Piferi and Warren H. Jones
Journal of Religion and Health
Vol. 44, No. 2 (Summer, 2005), pp. 161-171
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27512850
Page Count: 11
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Spirituality Predicts Health and Cardiovascular Responses to Stress in Young Adult Women
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Abstract

The primary focus of this study was to investigate the roles of spirituality and religiosity in self-reported physical health, and to determine whether there is an association between an individual's spirituality and cardiovascular responses to two stressors. Fifty-two females participated in both a betrayal interview and a structured interview, during which blood pressure and heart rate were monitored. Spirituality, as assessed by the Spiritual Well-being Scale, was associated with perceived stress, subjective well-being, and medication use. The Existential Well-being subscale predicted fewer physical health symptoms and was associated with lower mean heart rate and decreased heart rate reactivity. The Religious Well-being subscale was associated with reduced systolic blood pressure reactivity in response to the structured interview. These findings suggest that spirituality may have a salutary effect on health, even in a fairly young sample. While previous studies have predominantly reported that religion, as well as spirituality, have a health protective effect, this study did not find strong support for that conclusion. Religiosity in this age group may still be undergoing developmental maturity, which may explain the lack of relationships to health.

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