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Religious Consolation Among Men and Women: Do HealthProblems Spur Seeking?

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Abstract:

While most religions provide a meaning system that helps people cope with personal problems, there has been relatively little research on how and why men and women seek religious consolation and comfort. Data from a national longitudinal survey, Americans' Changing Lives, Waves I and II ,were used to examine whether physical and mental health problems precipitate seeking religious consolation. The findings indicate that seeking religious consolation is most likely among those who identify with and practice a religion suggesting that religious consolation intensifies among religious persons. Chronic (non-serious)conditions were associated with increased religious seeking over time, and cancer was associated with higher religious seeking, especially among women. Depression was associated with greater seeking of religious consolation among both men and women. The results reveal clearly that women are more likely than men to seek religious consolation, but men seek religious consolation for a wider range of health and situational problems (e.g.,unemployment).The findings also demonstrate the importance of considering the role of religious consolation in studies of religion and health.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0021-8294.00017

Affiliations: Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Publication date: June 1, 2000

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