By On May 4th, 2007

A Majority of Physicians See Faith as a Factor in a Patients’ Health

“A majority of physicians in a large survey declared that religion and spirituality, including divine intervention, affect their patients’ health.” – Judith Groch

According to a recent study published in the Archive of Internal Medicine, 56% of 1,144 physicians believe that faith has “significant effects” on the health of patients. Another 54% of the physicians surveyed said that at times a divine or supernatural being would intervene on the behalf of the diagnosed patient. Only a small percentage of the physicians interviewed, approximately 7%, said that faith can have adverse effects on patients such as guilt, not taking medications as a result of proclaimed faith, and so on. It seems to me that most all of the physicians surveyed have some measure of faith. The question then that I would like to ask is, “do doctors have faith or does doctoring cause faith?” Here is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the study:

The survey of more than a thousand practicing physicians found that 56% believe religion and spirituality have a significant effect on health, researchers reported in the April 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Nearly as many said that on occasion the influence is attributable to divine intervention, said Farr A. Curlin, M.D., of the University of Chicago, and colleagues. Yet only a few said that these beliefs change “hard” medical outcomes.

“We find it notable, particularly in light of perennial discussions about the relationship between science and faith, that most physicians apply medical science while maintaining a belief that God intervenes in patients’ health,” said Dr. Curlin and colleagues.

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