The ACPE Research Network

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Summer 2015 Newsletter

Volume 13, Number 3
Published July 28, 2015

Edited by Chaplain John Ehman, Network Convener

Network members are encouraged to submit articles for upcoming issues.
The Newsletter is published three times a year: Fall, Spring, and Summer.


Table of Contents

  1.     Grants Totaling $4,500,000 to Boost Hospital Chaplains' Research Literacy
  2.     Research at the Maine Medical Center's Department of Spiritual Care
 --by Kitty Garlid
  3.     VCU Residents'/Master of Science Students' Research Summit
  4.     Update from the Carolinas Healthcare System
  5.     Message from Trace Haythorn, ACPE Executive Director
  6.     Slides from Judith R. Ragsdale's 2015 ACPE Conference Research Presentation
  7.     Research Emphasis for the 2016 NAJC Conference
  8.     Pew Survey of "America’s Changing Religious Landscape"
  9.     2015 NHS England Chaplaincy Guidelines Promote Research
10.     BMC Palliative Care Special Section on "Palliative Care, Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy: The Current Landscape"
11.     Notable Articles from 2014 Not Previously Cited on the Research Network Website


1.     Grants Totaling $4,500,000 to Boost Hospital Chaplains' Research Literacy

The "Transforming Chaplaincy: Promoting Research Literacy for Improved Patient Outcomes" project will better equip hospital chaplains to use research to guide, evaluate, and advocate for the spiritual care they provide. Funded by two grants totaling $4,500,000 over four years from the John Templeton Foundation, with additional support from professional chaplaincy and pastoral education organizations, the project seeks to close the gap between hospital chaplains’ current limited research literacy and the importance of evidence-based care for all members of the health care team. It is co-led by George Fitchett, DMin, PhD, professor and director of research in the Department of Religion, Health and Human Values at Rush University Medical Center, and Wendy Cadge, PhD, professor of sociology and chair of the Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Brandeis University.

The project’s key training opportunities include:

Fellowships: A fellowship program will pay for 16 board-certified chaplains to complete a two-year, research-focused Master of Science or Master of Public Health degree in epidemiology, biostatistics, or public health at an accredited school of public health.

CPE Grants: Curriculum development grants will be awarded to 70 ACPE-accredited clinical pastoral education (CPE) residency programs to support incorporation of research literacy education in their curricula.

Free, Online Research Education for Chaplains: With the support of the professional chaplaincy and pastoral education organizations (the Association for Professional Chaplains, the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, the National Association for Catholic Chaplains, and Neshama--the Association for Jewish Chaplains), an online continuing education course, "Religion, Spirituality, and Health: An Introduction to Research," will be made available at no cost to members of these organizations.

Further information is available at the project website,


2.     Research at the Maine Medical Center's Department of Spiritual Care  --by ACPE Supervisor Kitty Garlid

I have been asked by the Research Network Convener to write about the good work that Maine Medical Center (Portland, ME) and our CPE program have done leading up to the feature of an article from our Center as the Network's July Article-of-the-Month, "...Chaplain Presence During Post-Trauma Care," by Steven McCormick and Alice Hildebrand. The work is rooted in the mission of Maine Medical Center (MMC): "Caring for our community, Educating tomorrow’s caregivers, and Researching new ways to provide care." In 2009, with 1.5 employees, including myself, in the Department of Spiritual Care, supplemented by community chaplains, and recognizing that we were stronger in our support of the caring and educating components of the mission than in research, we set as a priority to strengthen the research component. As a 600-bed tertiary care center, a teaching hospital for Tufts Medical School, and housing the Maine Medical Center Research Institute, MMC had the structures in place to support that initiative.


In 2010 the department invited George Fitchett to be the featured speaker addressing "Evidence Based Spiritual Care" at a yearly symposium on health, spirituality, and ethics. Serving on the panel of respondents were the Vice President for Research and Director of the Maine Medical Center Research Institute and the Medical Director of the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation. The following year we brought Wendy Cadge, also well known to the field of professional chaplaincy through her chaplaincy research in sociology. These two events contributed to raising the profile of chaplaincy and spiritual care at MMC.


The CPE program at MMC offers two units of CPE per year. We do not have a residency program. Nonetheless, in 2011, I added to the Level II CPE curriculum the requirement of a quality improvement or research project that would make a substantial contribution to MMC, offering a small stipend to Level II students who could commit to doing two units back to back. Students were encouraged to partner with a staff chaplain when possible and to seek publication in professional journals. The projects have ranged from quality improvement projects to qualitative research projects receiving the approval of the Institutional Review Board. Examples of the results are the inclusion of chaplains as "family support persons" at Codes, a spiritual distress screening tool for oncology nurses, and the addition of two staff positions for chaplains embedded in the service lines of pediatrics and cardiology. (Our department now has 4.5 employees). Articles based on these projects have been published in The Journal of Nursing Management and The Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy.


  • The CPE supervisor does not need to be an expert in research to support research.
  • The CPE supervisor does need to understand and utilize the structures supporting research in order to support the CPE students.
  • Access to expert staff is critical. In our case this has included the Director of the Center for Nursing Research and Quality Outcomes, who now serves on the CPE Professional Consultation Committee, research navigators in the MMC Research Institute, and the grants officer in the MMC Development Office.
[Editor's Note: Thanks to Kitty Garlid for offering this example of how research can help build pastoral care departments and CPE programs. Among her own publications is the Festschrift, Expanding the Circle: Essays in Honor of Joan Hemenway (Decatur, GA: Journal of Pastoral Care Publishers, 2009), which she co-edited with Angelika A. Zollfrank and George Fitchett. She may be contacted at]


3.     VCU Residents'/Master of Science Students' Research Summit

Virginia Commonwealth University's Department of Patient Counseling sponsored its "first annual" Resident Research Summit on April 25, 2015, at the VCU School of Medicine, celebrating students' completion of their 2014-2015 research projects. The half-day event brought together VCU faculty, representatives from the Dean's office, as well as people from around the institution and included a 90-minute poster session with the students. The research was part of a mandatory 3-credit-hour series of courses that addresses research literary, data collection and analysis, and dissemination of research results. The Summit was a key element of the course focus on the dissemination of research.

Students worked in relation to an overall quality improvement effort, with each conducting a survey of organizational culture and chaplain integration on the units they served in the hospital. Their findings were then developed into nine posters and unit profile summaries, with plans to communicate their results to relevant stakeholders for use as a basis for practice improvement. The collection of summaries constituted the overall project: "The Organizational Culture of VCUHS Units: An Exploratory Study, 2014-2015 Academic Year." The students also made poster presentations at the VCU Graduate Student Association Research Day and at the 2015 Emswiller Interprofessional Symposium: "Changing Practice; Improving Outcomes" --an annual University event, focusing on inter-professional education and practice.

Diane Dodd-McCue, DBA, Associate Professor with the Department of Patient Counseling, who teaches the research course, reports that the Summit was a central experience for the students, bolstering their sense of research as part of professional practice, and that it generally raised the profile of pastoral care research for the department. She plans to continue this and build upon it as a curricular component.

Residents and Master of Science students participating in the Research Summit included
(back row:) Robert Tolson, Barbara Stovall, Rebecca Highfield, Kevin Graham, Amy Grant, Logan Taylor
(front row:) Chanta McLymont, Robert Brown, Ben Brown

For additional information, contact Dr. Diane Dodd-McCue at


4.     Update from the Carolinas Healthcare System

ACPE Supervisor Beth Jackson-Jordan reports ongoing research at the Carolinas Medical Center North-East (Concord, NC), including an IRB-approved study of "The Impact of Resiliency Training on Compassion Fatigue, Compassion Satisfaction and Perception of Caring Work Environment in the Emergency Department," for which she is a co-principal investigator with Greg Hathaway, CPE Supervisor, and three nurse educators. Her department chaplains and CPE residents are involved in several process improvement projects that include improving the use of end-of-life care support services provided by their Pastoral Care department, increasing the completion rate of Advance Directive consults done by their department, and the utilization of Integrative Modalities to reduce pain and anxiety. She is additionally in the process of writing up a survey of North Carolina Chaplains’ Association members regarding the impact of CPE on their competency as chaplains. Her article, "Clergy Burnout and Resilience: A Review of the Literature," was published in the Journal of Pastoral Care in March 2013 (vol. 57, no. 1, electronic journal article designation 3:1-5).

Dr. Jackson-Jordan may be contacted at


5.     Message from Trace Haythorn, ACPE Executive Director

The following message from Executive Director Trace Haythorn appeared as part of our Network’s annual ACPE conference flyer for the May 6-9, 2015 national meeting in Atlanta, GA:

Dear Colleagues,

While it may seem a bit premature, it appears from the national office that the age of ACPE research is upon us. As you may already know, George Fitchett and Wendy Cadge have received a major grant from the Templeton Foundation, a key component of which involves teaching our members how to conduct research. In addition, a new study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital making the rounds is a pilot conducted by Angelika Zollfrank, et al., "Teaching Health Care Providers to Provide Spiritual Care…" (published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine). While we have generated many articles in the past and have had a variety of studies published within our own cognate journals, we are beginning to find a need -- even a demand -- for our work in the larger academic world, particularly palliative care and medicine more broadly. The entire research scene seems to be growing into a new era, one in which research-based education and practice will be assumed, and the quality of that research will be exemplary.

In the coming year, our Academy will begin posting webinars and other materials designed to support supervisors who want to teach how to read, critique, and conduct research. Several programs already include a research module in their curriculum. As our work continues to improve and find its way into the publications of other professionals, I trust we will see increasing interest in your work as supervisors, in the study of spiritual care, and in effective measurement of data gathered from this work.

It is an exciting time, one for which you have been laying the foundation. It is time to start building on that foundation and enjoying the new era in our Association’s work. Thanks to all of you for your interest in and dedication to ACPE research!
The full Network flyer is available by clicking HERE.


6.     Slides from Judith R. Ragsdale's 2015 ACPE Conference Research Presentation

On May 8, 2015, Judith R. Ragsdale, Director of Education and Research in Pastoral Care at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, received the ACPE's Critical Thinking in Research and Innovation Award at our national conference in Atlanta, GA; and slides from her presentation, "Behaviors of ACPE Candidates Leading to Certification as Associate Supervisors," are now available for download. Grounded theory analysis of interviews with 28 Certification Commissioners identified 15 key behaviors that they looked for in Supervisory Candidates' materials and committee appearances for Associate status. This research should help to develop theory for providing quality supervisory education in the ACPE, and it should also offer insights of great practical value for candidates moving through the supervisory process. The study is currently being written up for publication, but the slides alone offer a good sense of the main findings.

Dr. Ragsdale's work builds upon her previous research, a bibliography of which may be found in our Spring 2015 Newsletter, §2.


7.     Research Emphasis for the 2016 NAJC Conference

The January 17-20, 2016 national conference of the National Association for Jewish Chaplains, to be held in Baltimore, MD, will have the theme of Voice of the Voiceless: Experiential and Research Based Advocacy as a Form of Spiritual Care. "The goal…will be to look, through experiential and researched based methods, at different chaplaincy and pastoral models relating to our role as advocates for the people whom we serve" [ –from the NAJC website]. Details of the conference will be forthcoming through


8.     Pew Survey of "America’s Changing Religious Landscape"

The latest Pew Research Center demographic study of religion in the US, "America’s Changing Religious Landscape," was released on May 12, 2015, with the main headline (as the study's subtitle) being: "Christians Decline Sharply as Share of Population; Unaffiliated and Other Faiths Continue to Grow." This is a follow-up to a US religion landscape survey from 2007. The new study collected data through a "nationally representative telephone survey of 35,071 adults interviewed on both cellphones and landlines from June 4-Sept. 30, 2014" [--from a Pew press release]. Details are available from the Pew website's main summary page, with links to the complete 200-page report, the questionnaire, and appendices.

We have previously highlighted Pew surveys in our Winter-Spring 2014, Fall 2012, and Spring-Summer 2012 Newsletters.


9.     2015 NHS England Chaplaincy Guidelines Promote Research

The National Health Service in England (NHS England), approved on March 6, 2015 an update to their Chaplaincy Guidelines: Promoting Excellence in Pastoral, Spiritual, and Religious Care, which includes multiple references to the importance of research. The document was written by the Revd. Dr. Chris Swift (Head of Chaplaincy Services, Leeds Teaching Hospitals, NHS Trust), in consultation with the Chaplaincy Leaders Forum and the National Equality and Health Inequalities Team, NHS England. A selection of quotes from the Guidelines:

  • "Research and innovation are affirmed as important areas for chaplaincy both for improved practice and as a basis for commissioners to understand the benefits of chaplaincy-spiritual care." [Executive Summary, p. 5]
  • "Best practice for good quality pastoral, spiritual or religious care is achieved by: …Ensuring that at least 20% of a chaplain’s working time is available for some or all of the following duties: …developing expertise for research and publication." [Chaplaincy in Acute Care, p. 16; reiterated regarding Chaplaincy in Mental Health Care, p. 19]
  • "Caring for patients, service users and staff is the primary role of health care chaplains. Providing that care always requires time for reflection, learning and improvement. Unless chaplains work to develop their skills and knowledge, as well as their own spiritual discipline, there is likely to be a diminishing return in their pastoral effectiveness. Chaplains need to learn from one another: through research; in their own religious or belief community; by reflective practice, and from the insights of colleagues in related disciplines." [Training, Development & Research, p. 25]
  • "All chaplains should be familiar with the profession’s research standard, meet the foundation level and plan to develop elements of the next level." [Training, Development & Research, p. 25; NOTE: regarding the "profession’s research standard," the Guidelines cite Peter W. Speck’s 2004 paper, "A Standard for Research in Health Care Chaplaincy."]
These Guidelines replace those from 2003 (not to be confused with an early printing of the revised Guidelines that appeared in July 2014). NHS England has also produced an Equality Analysis of the Guidelines to ensure compliance with legislative acts.

The Chaplaincy Leadership Forum (CLF) is a group that formed in 2013 to facilitate communication and cooperation between NHS England and various British chaplaincy organizations. Immediately following the publication, the group met "to discuss the strategic priorities for chaplaincy in England in the light of the 2015 Guidelines" and developed a strategy paper "to promote a wider discussion of how chaplaincy should develop over the next 5 years" [--from a 4/2/15 letter by the Executive of the CLF inviting input from chaplains/chaplaincy organizations]. The CLF’s development plan includes the following statement regarding research:

We need to identify the key questions to grow our understanding of spiritual, pastoral and religious care and how this benefits those in health care. With greater agreement about what we need to know research can be co-ordinated in order to maximise the work done by the relatively small number of chaplaincy researchers.
See: "Transforming Chaplaincy for the Future."


10.     BMC Palliative Care Special Section on "Palliative Care, Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy: The Current Landscape"

Four research articles that emerged from the 2014 Caring for the Human Spirit conference (reported in our Summer 2014 Newsletter, §7) are now available freely from the open access publisher, Biomed Central, in a special section of its BMC Palliative Care journal. See: "Palliative Care, Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy: The Current Landscape" at

Fitchett, G., Emanuel, L., Handzo, G., Boyken, L. and Wilkie, D. J. "Care of the human spirit and the role of dignity therapy: a systematic review of dignity therapy research." BMC Palliative Care 14 (2015): 8 [electronic journal article designation]. [(Abstract:) BACKGROUND: Dignity Therapy (DT), an intervention for people facing serious illness, focuses on dignity conservation tasks such as settling relationships, sharing words of love, and preparing a legacy document for loved ones. Research on DT began more than a decade ago and has been conducted in 7 countries, but a systematic review of DT research has not been published. METHODS: Using a PubMed search with key terms of 'dignity therapy', 'dignity psychotherapy', 'Chochinov', and 'dignity care', we found 29 articles on DT and retained 25 after full-text review. RESULTS: Of these, 17 articles representing 12 quantitative studies establish that patients who receive DT report high satisfaction and benefits for themselves and their families, including increased sense of meaning and purpose. The effects of DT on physical or emotional symptoms, however, were inconsistent. CONCLUSIONS: Conclusions point to three areas for future research on DT, to determine: (1) whether the DT intervention exerts an impact at a spiritual level and/or as a life completion task; (2) how DT should be implemented in real world settings; and (3) if DT has an effect on the illness experience within the context of not only the patient, but also the family and community. Building on this body of DT research, investigators will need to continue to be sensitive as they involve participants in DT studies and innovations to facilitate the generation and delivery of legacy documents to participants near the end of life.]

Kestenbaum, A., James, J., Morgan, S., Shields, M., Hocker, W., Rabow, M. and Dunn, L. B. "'Taking your place at the table': an autoethnographic study of chaplains' participation on an interdisciplinary research team." BMC Palliative Care 14 (2015): 20 [electronic journal article designation]. [(Abstract:) BACKGROUND: There are many potential benefits to chaplaincy in transforming into a "research-informed" profession. However little is known or has been documented about the roles of chaplains on research teams and as researchers or about the effects of research engagement on chaplains themselves. This report describes the experience and impact of three chaplains, as well as tensions and challenges that arose, on one particular interdisciplinary team researching a spiritual assessment model in palliative care. Transcripts of our research team meetings, which included the three active chaplain researchers, as well as reflections of all the members of the research team provide the data for this descriptive, qualitative, autoethnographic analysis. METHODS: This autoethnographic project evolved from the parent study, entitled "Spiritual Assessment Intervention Model (AIM) in Outpatient Palliative Care Patients with Advanced Cancer." This project focused on the use of a well-developed model of spiritual care, the Spiritual Assessment and Intervention Model (Spiritual AIM). Transcripts of nine weekly team meetings for the parent study were reviewed. These parent study team meetings were attended by various disciplines and included open dialogue and intensive questions from non-chaplain team members to chaplains about their practices and Spiritual AIM. Individual notes (from reflexive memoing) and other reflections of team members were also reviewed for this report. The primary methodological framework for this paper, autoethnography, was not only used to describe the work of chaplains as researchers, but also to reflect on the process of researcher identity formation and offer personal insights regarding the challenges accompanying this process. RESULTS: Three major themes emerged from the autoethnographic analytic process: 1) chaplains' unique contributions to the research team; 2) the interplay between the chaplains' active research role and their work identities; and 3) tensions and challenges in being part of an interdisciplinary research team. CONCLUSIONS: Describing the contributions and challenges of one interdisciplinary research team that included chaplains may help inform chaplains about the experience of participating in research. As an autoethnographic study, this work is not meant to offer generalizable results about all chaplains' experiences on research teams. Research teams that are interdisciplinary may mirror the richness and efficacy of clinical interdisciplinary teams. Further work is needed to better characterize both the promise and pitfalls of chaplains' participation on research teams.]

Massey, K., Barnes, M. J., Villines, D., Goldstein, J. D., Pierson, A. L., Scherer, C., Vander Laan, B. and Summerfelt, W. T. "What do I do? Developing a taxonomy of chaplaincy activities and interventions for spiritual care in intensive care unit palliative care." BMC Palliative Care 14 (2015): 10 [electronic journal article designation]. [(Abstract:) BACKGROUND: Chaplains are increasingly seen as key members of interdisciplinary palliative care teams, yet the specific interventions and hoped for outcomes of their work are poorly understood. This project served to develop a standard terminology inventory for the chaplaincy field, to be called the chaplaincy taxonomy. METHODS: The research team used a mixed methods approach to generate, evaluate and validate items for the taxonomy. We conducted a literature review, retrospective chart review, focus groups, self-observation, experience sampling, concept mapping, and reliability testing. Chaplaincy activities focused primarily on palliative care in an intensive care unit setting in order to capture a broad cross section of chaplaincy activities. RESULTS: Literature and chart review resulted in 438 taxonomy items for testing. Chaplain focus groups generated an additional 100 items and removed 421 items as duplications. Self-Observation, Experience Sampling and Concept Mapping provided validity that the taxonomy items were actual activities that chaplains perform in their spiritual care. Inter-rater reliability for chaplains to identify taxonomy items from vignettes was 0.903. CONCLUSIONS: The 100 item chaplaincy taxonomy provides a strong foundation for a normative inventory of chaplaincy activities and outcomes. A deliberative process is proposed to further expand and refine the taxonomy to create a standard terminological inventory for the field of chaplaincy. A standard terminology could improve the ways inter-disciplinary palliative care teams communicate about chaplaincy activities and outcomes.]

Powell, R. A., Emanuel, L., Handzo, G., Lantos, J., Dunn, L. B., Idler, E. L., Wilkie, D. J., Massey, K., Summerfelt, W. T., Barnes, M. J., Quest, T. E., Kestenbaum, A., Steinhauser, K., Fitchett, G., Zollfrank, A., Olsen, A. K., Balboni, T. A. and Sommer, D. "Transcending differences to study the transcendent: an exploratory study of researchers' and chaplains' reflections on interdisciplinary spiritual care research collaboration." BMC Palliative Care 14 (2015): 12 [electronic journal article designation]. [(Abstract:) BACKGROUND: Despite recognition of the centrality of professional board-certified chaplains (BCC) in palliative care, the discipline has little research to guide its practices. To help address this limitation, HealthCare Chaplaincy Network funded six proposals in which BCCs worked collaboratively with established researchers. Recognizing the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in the development of a new field, this paper reports on an exploratory study of project members' reflections over time on the benefits and challenges of conducting inter-disciplinary spiritual care research. METHODS: Data collection occurred in two stages. Stage 1 entailed two independent, self-reflective focus groups, organized by professional discipline, mid-way through the site projects. Stage 2 entailed end-of-project site reports and a conference questionnaire. RESULTS: Eighteen professionals participated in the group discussions. Stage 1: researchers perceived chaplains as eager workers passionately committed to their patients and to research, and identified challenges faced by chaplains in learning to conduct research. Chaplains perceived researchers as passionate about their work, were concerned research might uncover negative findings for their profession, and sensed they used a dissimilar paradigm from their research colleagues regarding the 'ways of relating' to knowledge and understanding. Stage 2: researchers and chaplains noted important changes they ascribed to the interdisciplinary collaboration that were classified into six domains of cultural and philosophical understanding: respect; learning; discovery; creativity; fruitful partnerships; and learning needs. CONCLUSIONS: Chaplains and researchers initially expressed divergent perspectives on the research collaborations. During the projects' lifespans, these differences were acknowledged and addressed. Mutual appreciation for each discipline's strengths and contributions to inter-professional dialogue emerged.]

The section also includes the following as correspondence: Emanuel, L., Handzo, G., Grant, G., Massey, K., Zollfrank, A., Wilke, D., Powell, R., Smith, W. and Pargament, K. "Workings of the human spirit in palliative care situations: a consensus model from the Chaplaincy Research Consortium." BMC Palliative Care 14 (2015): 29 [electronic journal article designation].

See also the Biomed Central Series blog, "Quantum leaps in understanding: advancing healthcare chaplaincy research," by Linda L. Emmanuel and Joshua Hauser, posted June 17, 2015.


11.     Notable Articles from 2014 Not Previously Cited on the Research Network Website

Our Network regularly highlights quite a number of articles, yet a good many are not cited in the course of a year. The following two dozen have until now not been noted but may be of special interest to chaplains. They are part of an annual annotated bibliography of Medline-indexed articles, available from the Penn Medicine Department of Pastoral Care.

Flannelly, L. T., Flannelly, K. J. and Jankowski, K. R. [Psychosocial Research, Massapequa, NY]. "Independent, dependent, and other variables in healthcare and chaplaincy research." Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy 20, no. 4 (2014): 161-170. [(Abstract:) This article begins by defining the term variable and the terms independent variable and dependent variable, providing examples of each. It then proceeds to describe and discuss synonyms for the terms independent variable and dependent variable, including treatment, intervention, predictor, and risk factor, and synonyms for dependent variable, such as response variables and outcomes. The article explains that the terms extraneous, nuisance, and confounding variables refer to any variable that can interfere with the ability to establish relationships between independent variables and dependent variables, and it describes ways to control for such confounds. It further explains that even though intervening, mediating, and moderating variables explicitly alter the relationship between independent variables and dependent variables, they help to explain the causal relationship between them. In addition, the article links terminology about variables with the concept of levels of measurement in research.]

Hayward, R. D. and Krause, N. [Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor]. "How religious doubt moderates depression symptoms following older adult bereavement." Death Studies 38, nos. 1-5 (Jan-Jun 2014): 217-223. [(Abstract:) This study examined the relationship of religious doubt with mental health following bereavement, using data from a nationally representative longitudinal survey of religion and health in older adulthood. Growth curve modeling analyzed trajectories of change in symptoms of depression at up to three waves over up to seven years following either family bereavement or non-bereavement trauma. After bereavement, those with more religious doubt reported worsening symptoms, whereas those with less doubt reported stable or improving symptoms over the same period. After nonbereavement trauma, religious doubt was not associated with symptom change.]

Jeffries, W. L. 4th, Okeke, J. O., Gelaude, D. J., Torrone, E. A., Gasiorowicz, M., Oster, A. M., McCree, D. H. and Bertolli, J. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA]. "An exploration of religion and spirituality among young, HIV-infected gay and bisexual men in the USA." Culture, Health & Sexuality 16, no. 9 (2014): 1070-1083. [(Abstract:) Although religion and spirituality can promote healthy behaviours and mental well-being, negative religious experiences may harm sexual minority men's health. Despite increasing vulnerability to HIV infection among young gay and bisexual men, few studies examine how religion and spirituality might affect them. To this end, we interviewed young gay and bisexual men who were diagnosed with HIV infection during January 2006-June 2009. Questionnaires assessed religious service attendance, disclosure of sexuality within religious communities, and beliefs about homosexuality being sinful. A subset described religious and spiritual experiences in qualitative interviews. We calculated the prevalence of religion- and spirituality-related factors and identified themes within qualitative interviews. Among men completing questionnaires, 66% currently attended religious services, 16% believed they could disclose their sexuality at church, and 37% believed homosexuality was sinful. Participants who completed qualitative interviews commonly discussed religious attendance and negative experiences within religious settings. They often expressed their spirituality through prayer, and some used it to cope with adverse experiences. These data suggest that religion and spirituality are notable factors that shape young, HIV-infected gay and bisexual men's social contexts. Programmes and interventions that constructively engage with religious institutions and are sensitive to spiritual beliefs may promote these men's health.]

Karvinen, K. H. and Carr, L. J. [Nipissing University, Canada]. "Does the perception that God controls health outcomes matter for health behaviors?" Journal of Health Psychology 19, no. 4 (Apr 2014): 521-530. [(Abstract:) The purpose of this study was to examine the associations between God Locus of Health Control, health behaviors, and beliefs utilizing a cross-sectional online survey (N = 549). Results indicated that God Locus of Health Control was correlated with alcohol use, physical activity, perceived risk of chronic disease, and beliefs that poor health behaviors contribute to chronic disease (all p values < .05). Multiple regression analyzes including covariates and other locus of control variables revealed that God Locus of Health Control was only an independent correlate of the belief that physical inactivity contributed to chronic disease. Insights from this study may be important for future faith-based health behavior change interventions.]

Kiran, G. K. K., Chalana, H. and Singh, H. [Departments of Physiology and Psychiatry, Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences & Research, Sri Amritsar, Punjab, India]. "Effect of Rajyoga meditation on chronic tension headache." Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology 58, no. 2 (Apr-Jun 2014): 157-161. [(Abstract:) Chronic tension-type headache (CTTH) is the most common type of headache with no truly effective treatment. This study was designed to correlate the additive effect of meditation on CTTH patients receiving medical treatment. 50 patients (aged 18-58 years) presenting with a clinical diagnosis of CCTH, were divided in 2 groups. Group 1 (n=30) received 8 lessons and practical demonstration of Brahmakumaris spiritual based meditation known as Rajyoga meditation for relaxation therapy, in addition to routine medical treatment (analgesics and muscle relaxants). Group 2 (n=20) patients received analgesics and muscle relaxants twice a day but no relaxation therapy in the form of meditation. Both groups were followed up for 8 weeks period. The parameters studied were severity, frequency and duration of CCTH, and their headache index calculated. Patients in both groups showed a highly significant reduction in headache variables (P<0.001) after 8 weeks. But the percentage of patients showing highly significant relief in severity of headache, duration & frequency in Group 1 was 94%, 91% and 97% respectively whereas in Group 2 it was 36%, 36% and 49% respectively. Headache relief as calculated by headache index was 99% in Group 1 as compared to 51% in Group 2. Even Short term spiritual based relaxation therapy (Rajyoga meditation) was highly effective in causing earlier relief in chronic tension headache as measured by headache parameter.]

Kremer, H. and Ironson, G. [Department of Psychology, University of Miami, FL]. "Longitudinal spiritual coping with trauma in people with HIV: implications for health care." AIDS Patient Care & STDs 28, no. 3 (Mar 2014): 144-154. [(Abstract:) This 10-year study (N=177) examines how people with HIV use spirituality to cope with life's trauma on top of HIV-related stress (e.g., facing death, stigma, poverty, limited healthcare) usual events. Spirituality, defined as a connection to a higher presence, is independent from religion (institutionalized spirituality). As a dynamic adaptive process, coping requires longitudinal studying. Qualitative content-analysis of interviews/essays yielded a coding of specific aspects and a longitudinal rating of overall spiritual coping. Most participants were rated as spiritual, using spiritual practices, about half experienced comfort, empowerment, growth/transformation, gratitude, less than one-third meaning, community, and positive reframing. Up to one-fifth perceived spiritual conflict, struggle, or anger, triggering post-traumatic stress, which sometimes converted into positive growth/transformation later. Over time, 65% used spiritual coping positively, 7% negatively, and 28% had no significant use. Spirituality was mainly beneficial for women, heterosexuals, and African Americans (p<0.05). Results suggest that spirituality is a major source of positive and occasionally negative coping (e.g., viewing HIV as sin). We discuss how clinicians can recognize and prevent when spirituality is creating distress and barriers to HIV treatment, adding a literature review on ways of effective spiritual assessment. Spirituality may be a beneficial component of coping with trauma, considering socio-cultural contexts.]

Kuczewski, M. G., McCarthy, M. P., Michelfelder, A., Anderson, E. E., Wasson, K. and Hatchett, L. [Loyola University Chicago, Maywood, IL]. "‘I will never let that be OK again’: student reflections on competent spiritual care for dying patients." Academic Medicine 89, no. 1 (Jan 2014): 54-59. [(Abstract:) PURPOSE: To examine medical students' reflections on the spiritual care of a patient who has died so as to understand how students experienced this significant event and how they or their teams addressed patients' spiritual needs. METHOD: In 2010-2011, the authors gave third-year students at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine an essay assignment, prompting them to reflect on the experience of the death of one of their patients. The authors analyzed the content of the essays using an iterative, multistep process. Three authors independently coded the essays for themes based on the competencies (developed by Puchalski and colleagues and reflected in the essay prompt) of communication, compassionate presence, patient care, and personal and professional development. The authors reached consensus through discussion. RESULTS: A salient theme in the students' writings was awareness of their personal and professional development. Students reported being aware that they were becoming desensitized to the human dimension of care, and particularly to dying patients and their families. Students wished to learn to contain their emotions to better serve their patients, and they articulated a commitment to addressing patient and family needs. Students identified systemic fragmentation of patient care as a barrier to meeting patient needs and as a facilitator of provider desensitization. CONCLUSIONS: Written student reflections are a rich source of data regarding the spiritual care of dying patients and their families. They provide insight into the personal and professional development of medical students and suggest that medical schools should support students' formation.] [See also the introductory essay to this issue of the journal: Puchalski, C. M., et al., "Spirituality and health: the development of a field," Academic Medicine 89, no. 1 (Jan 2014): 10-16.]

Ledford, C. J., Seehusen, D. A., Canzona, M. R. and Cafferty, L. A. [Department of Biomedical Informatics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD]. "Using a teaching OSCE to prompt learners to engage with patients who talk about religion and/or spirituality." Academic Medicine 89, no. 1 (Jan 2014): 60-65. [(Abstract:) PURPOSE: The objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) has only occasionally been used as a teaching tool. The authors describe the initial use of an educational innovation consisting of a teaching OSCE used as "sensitizing practice," followed by personal, guided, and group reflection. METHOD: Staff and resident physicians and one medical student (N = 28) at a community hospital's family medicine residency participated in the innovation during August 2012. The initial use of the educational innovation allowed learners to engage in a potentially challenging conversation with a standardized patient about religion and/or spirituality (R/S). The aim of the innovation was not to equip learners with a particular tactic to introduce or discuss R/S but, rather, to prompt learners to engage in mindful practice with patients who identify R/S as part of their biopsychosocial contexts. Written, dyadic, and group reflection added value to the OSCE by allowing participants to reflect on a difficult learning objective over time. RESULTS: Participants moved along the stages-of-change continuum when engaging in guided reflection compared with personal reflection. Additionally, all participants provided evidence of at least the preparation stage at the time of guided reflection. By following the OSCE's sensitizing practice with three periods of reflection, learners were enabled first, to recognize the need for readiness to address challenging communication topics (in this case, R/S) and, second, to reflect on practiced strategies for those conversations. CONCLUSIONS: The educational innovation can help learners become more aware of and skillful in dealing with difficult physician-patient communication topics.] [See also the introductory essay to this issue of the journal: Puchalski, C. M., et al., "Spirituality and health: the development of a field," Academic Medicine 89, no. 1 (Jan 2014): 10-16.]

Lee, M., Nezu, A. M. and Nezu, C. M. [Department of Psychology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA]. "Positive and negative religious coping, depressive symptoms, and quality of life in people with HIV." Journal of Behavioral Medicine 37, no. 5 (Oct 2014): 921-930. [(Abstract:) The present study examined the relationships of positive and negative types of religious coping with depression and quality of life, and the mediating role of benefit finding in the link between religious coping and psychological outcomes among 198 individuals with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The results of multiple hierarchical analyzes revealed that negative religious coping was significantly associated with a high level of depressive symptoms and a low level of quality of life, controlling for demographic and clinical variables. On the other hand, positive religious coping was significantly associated with positive domains of outcome measures such as positive affect and life satisfaction, but not with overall depressive symptoms or quality of life. Tests of mediation analyzes showed that benefit finding fully mediated the relationship between positive religious coping and the positive sub-domains of psychological outcomes. The importance of investigating both positive and negative types of religious coping in their relationships with psychological adaptation in people with HIV was discussed, as well as the significance of benefit finding in understanding the link between religious coping and psychological outcomes.]

Lucchetti, G. and Lucchetti, A. L. [Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Brazil]. "Spirituality, religion, and health: over the last 15 years of field research (1999-2013)." International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine 48, no. 3 (2014): 199-215. [(Abstract:) OBJECTIVE: Although several studies have examined the contribution of specific countries, journals, and authors in different scientific disciplines, little is known about the contribution of different world countries, journals, and authors to scientific research in the field of "Spirituality, religion, and health" (S/R). The present study aims to analyze the last 15 years of research in the field of spirituality and religiousness (S/R) through a bibliometric analysis. METHODS: Using the Pubmed database, we retrieved all articles related to S/R field for the period 1999-2013. We then estimated the total number of publications, number of articles published per year, articles published per country, journals with most publications in S/R field, most productive authors, and most used keywords. RESULTS: We found a growth of publications in the last years, most from the United States and the United Kingdom and published in the English language. Noteworthy, some developing countries such as India, Brazil, Israel, and Iran are at higher positions in this list. The S/R articles were published in journals embracing all fields of research, including high impact journals. CONCLUSION: In the present study, we took a closer look at the field of "Spirituality, religion, and health," showing that this field of research has been constantly growing and consolidating in the scientific community.]

Magyar-Russell, G., Brown, I. T., Edara, I. R., Smith, M. T., Marine, J. E. and Ziegelstein, R. C. [Department of Pastoral Counseling, Loyola University Maryland, Columbia, MD]. "In search of serenity: religious struggle among patients hospitalized for suspected acute coronary syndrome." Journal of Religion & Health 53, no. 2 (Apr 2014): 562-578. [(Abstract:) Hospitalization for a sudden cardiac event is a frightening experience, one that is often marked by uncertainty about health status, fear of recurrent cardiac problems, and related existential, religious, and spiritual concerns. Religious struggle, reflecting tension and strain regarding religious and spiritual issues, may arise in response to symptoms of acute coronary syndrome (ACS). The present study examined the prevalence and types of religious struggle using the Brief RCOPE, as well as associations between religious struggle, psychological distress, and self-reported sleep habits among 62 patients hospitalized with suspected ACS. Fifty-eight percent of the sample reported some degree of religious struggle. Questioning the power of God was the most frequently endorsed struggle. Those struggling religiously reported significantly more symptoms of anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance. Non-White participants endorsed greater use of positive religious coping strategies and religious struggle. Results suggest that patients hospitalized for suspected ACS experiencing even low levels of religious struggle might benefit from referral to a hospital chaplain or appropriately trained mental health professional for more detailed religious and spiritual assessment. Practical means of efficiently screening for religious struggle during the often brief hospitalization period for suspected ACS are discussed.]

Manning, L. K. [Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke University, Durham, NC]. "Enduring as lived experience: exploring the essence of spiritual resilience for women in late life." Journal of Religion & Health 53, no. 2 (Apr 2014): 352-362. [(Abstract:) The purpose of this study was to explore spirituality and its relationship to resilience for women in late life. Over thirty interviews with six women aged 80 and older provide a dataset allowing for the phenomenological investigation of spiritual resilience. Themes emerged illustrating the components of spiritual resilience. The components of spiritual resilience are having divine support, maintaining purpose, and expressing gratitude. These factors are essential to the women's resilience and act as mechanisms that promote high levels of subjective well-being and an overall good quality of life. Essentially, participants articulate how their experiences of enduring hardships are informed by spiritual resilience.]

Martyn, H., Barrett, A. and Nicholson, H. D. [Department of Anatomy, Otago School of Medical Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand]. "A belief in the soul may contribute to the stress experienced in the dissecting room." Journal of Anatomy 224, no. 3 (Mar 2014): 345-351. [(Abstract:) The aim of this research was to explore whether medical students believe in a soul and how this may affect their dissecting experience. Three questionnaires were delivered electronically to the 2011 cohort of second-year medical students over a 2-year period. At the University of Otago, students enter medicine via three categories: Health Sciences First Year (following 1 year of university); postgraduate (following a Bachelors or higher degree); and 'other' category entry (Allied Health Professional or 3 years after a Bachelors degree). The entry category, age, ethnicity and gender of the students were collected; 51.6% of the students believed in the concept of a soul. On a scale of 1-5, students ranked the importance of religion/spirituality as 2.69. Those who believed in a soul were more likely to have a religious/spiritual component to their life and be males or 'other' category entrants. However, there were many students who believed in the soul who did not have a religious/spiritual association, suggesting that this belief extends beyond religion. Those who believed in a soul had significantly higher anticipatory stress and experienced higher levels of stress during dissection. A higher proportion of students in the 'other' category entrants believed in the concept of the soul and also had significantly higher levels of stress during dissection. Our data suggest that a belief in a soul may affect students' experiences in dissecting. Incorporating the teaching of humanities with anatomy may help medical students as they assimilate both the biomedical and philosophical aspects of dissection.]

Newberg, A. B. [Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA]. "The neuroscientific study of spiritual practices." Frontiers in Psychology 5 (2014): 215 [electronic journal article designation]. [(Abstract:) The purpose of this paper will be to provide a perspective on the current state of the research evaluating the neurobiological correlates of spiritual practices and review the methodological issues that confront this research field. There are many types of spiritual practices that might be studied including prayer and meditation, as well as unusual practices such as mediumistic trance states, speaking in tongues, and also drug-induced experiences. Current studies have utilized neuroimaging techniques including functional magnetic resonance imaging, single photon emission computed tomography, and positron emission tomography. These studies have helped elucidate the neurobiological mechanisms associated with spiritual practices. Such studies confront unique challenges for scientific methodology including determining the most appropriate objective measures such as neuroimaging studies and physiological parameters, and correlating them with subjective measures that help capture states of spiritual significance. Overall, a neuroscientific study of spiritual practices and experiences has the potential to provide fascinating data to further our understanding of the relationship between the brain and such phenomena.]

Overton, T. L., Williams, G., Shafi, S. and Gandhi. R. R. [JPS Health Network, Fort Worth, TX]. "Utilization of pastoral care services for a screening, brief intervention, and referral-to-treatment program at an urban Level I Trauma Center." Journal of Emergency Nursing 40, no. 6 (Nov 2014): 560-562. [(Abstract:) Description of a program that utilized a chaplain for an alcohol intervention: SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment. Follow-ups were attempted at 3, 6, and 12 months after the initial contact. This report suggests that the use of chaplains for this is feasible, and it gives some exemplary patients’ stories.]

Ravishankar, N. and Bernstein, M. [Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, University of Toronto, Canada]. "Religion benefiting brain tumour patients: a qualitative study." Journal of Religion & Health 53, no. 6 (Dec 2014): 1898-1906. [(Abstract:) As the focus on modern neurosurgery has shifted to the realm of technological advancement, some patients and their loved ones still hold a strong faith in their religion to guide them through the process. This study aimed to determine whether religion as a coping mechanism was beneficial for patients before, during and after craniotomy. Qualitative case study methodology was used. Interviews were conducted with randomly selected 36 adult patients who underwent surgery for a benign or malignant brain tumour. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed, and the data subjected to thematic analysis. Four overarching themes emerged from the data: (1) religion significantly benefited neurosurgical patients; (2) neurosurgical patients did not require a dedicated religious room in the hospital; (3) neurosurgical patients required religious resources such as leaders and/or groups; and (4) patients were not in favor of their physician engaging in the religious ritual. Most patients found religion to be an effective coping mechanism, offering them strength, comfort, and hope through the surgery. The findings from this study emphasize the need for including a "religious time-out" before and after surgery and the inclusion of religious leaders/groups for those in favor to ensure quality care and patient satisfaction.]

Rider, K. A., Terrell, D. J., Sisemore, T. A. and Hecht, J. E. [School of Counseling, Richmont Graduate University, Atlanta, GA]. "Religious coping style as a predictor of the severity of anorectic symptomology." Brunner-Mazel Eating Disorders Monograph Series 22, no. 2 (2014): 163-179. [(Abstract:) A review of the literature concerning the relationship between anorexia nervosa (AN) and religion reveals two disparate themes: religion as a cultivator of AN, and religion as a recovery benefactor. The purpose of the present study was to address this discrepancy by exploring one factor--religious coping style--suspected to influence the role religion assumes in the lives of individuals with AN. A sample of 134 women who self-identified as having received an AN diagnosis completed measures of religious coping style and anorectic symptomology. Analyzes revealed that religious coping style significantly predicted severity of anorectic symptomology.]

Sandau, K. E., Hoglund, B. A., Weaver, C. E., Boisjolie, C. and Feldman, D. [Bethel University, St. Paul, MN]. "A conceptual definition of quality of life with a left ventricular assist device: results from a qualitative study." Heart & Lung 43, no. 1 (Jan-Feb 2014): 32-40. [(Abstract:) OBJECTIVE: To develop a conceptual definition of quality of life (QoL) with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). BACKGROUND: Conceptual and operational definitions of QoL with an LVAD are lacking. METHODS: A grounded theory method was used. Adult, outpatient LVAD recipients (n = 11) participated twice in individual or paired interviews. RESULTS: A conceptual definition of QoL while living with an LVAD was established as: "Being well enough to do and enjoy day-to-day activities that are important to me." Participants described 5 important life domains consistent with QoL literature: physical, emotional, social, cognitive, and spiritual/meaning. However, participants identified unique concerns not addressed by generic or heart failure disease specific measures typically used in the LVAD population. CONCLUSION: Existing generic and heart-failure specific QoL measures are not adequate for understanding QoL among LVAD patients. Cognition and spiritual/meaning domains were significant; these need inclusion for comprehensive QoL assessment in the LVAD population.]

Selman, L., Young, T., Vermandere, M., Stirling, I. and Leget, C., for the Research Subgroup of European Association for Palliative Care Spiritual Care Taskforce [King's College London, Cicely Saunders Institute, London]. "Research priorities in spiritual care: an international survey of palliative care researchers and clinicians." Journal of Pain & Symptom Management 48, no. 4 (Oct 2014): 518-531. [(Abstract:) CONTEXT: Spiritual distress, including meaninglessness and hopelessness, is common in advanced disease. Spiritual care is a core component of palliative care, yet often neglected by health care professionals owing to the dearth of robust evidence to guide practice. OBJECTIVES: To determine research priorities of clinicians/researchers and thus inform future research in spiritual care in palliative care. METHODS: An online, cross-sectional, mixed-methods survey was conducted. Respondents were asked whether there is a need for more research in spiritual care, and if so, to select the five most important research priorities from a list of 15 topics. Free-text questions were asked about additional research priorities and respondents' single most important research question, with data analyzed thematically. RESULTS: In total, 971 responses, including 293 from palliative care physicians, 112 from nurses, and 111 from chaplains, were received from 87 countries. Mean age was 48.5 years (standard deviation, 10.7), 64% were women, and 65% were Christian. Fifty-three percent reported their work as "mainly clinical," and less than 2.5% stated that no further research was needed. Integrating quantitative and qualitative data demonstrated three priority areas for research: 1) development and evaluation of conversation models and overcoming barriers to spiritual care in staff attitudes, 2) screening and assessment, and 3) development and evaluation of spiritual care interventions and determining the effectiveness of spiritual care. CONCLUSION: In this first international survey exploring researchers' and clinicians' research priorities in spiritual care, we found international support for research in this domain. Findings provide an evidence base to direct future research and highlight the particular need for methodologically rigorous evaluation studies.]

Shenefelt, P. D. and Shenefelt, D. A. [Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, University of South Florida, Tampa]. "Spiritual and religious aspects of skin and skin disorders." Psychology Research & Behavior Management 7 (2014): 201-212. [(Abstract:) Skin and skin disorders have had spiritual aspects since ancient times. Skin, hair, and nails are visible to self and others, and touchable by self and others. The skin is a major sensory organ. Skin also expresses emotions detectable by others through pallor, coldness, "goose bumps", redness, warmth, or sweating. Spiritual and religious significances of skin are revealed through how much of the skin has been and continues to be covered with what types of coverings, scalp and beard hair cutting, shaving and styling, skin, nail, and hair coloring and decorating, tattooing, and intentional scarring of skin. Persons with visible skin disorders have often been stigmatized or even treated as outcasts. Shamans and other spiritual and religious healers have brought about healing of skin disorders through spiritual means. Spiritual and religious interactions with various skin disorders such as psoriasis, leprosy, and vitiligo are discussed. Religious aspects of skin and skin diseases are evaluated for several major religions, with a special focus on Judaism, both conventional and kabbalistic.]

Trevino, K. M. and McConnell, T. R. [Psychology Department, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ]. "Religiosity and religious coping in patients with cardiovascular disease: change over time and associations with illness adjustment." Journal of Religion & Health 53, no. 6 (Dec 2014):1907-1917. [(Abstract:) Little is known about the longitudinal relationship between religiosity/spirituality (R/S) and patient physical and mental health in patients with cardiovascular disease. Forty-three patients with a first-time myocardial infarction or coronary artery revascularization bypass surgery completed measures of religiosity, religious coping, quality of life (QOL), and weight prior to a cardiac rehabilitation program and 1 and 2 years later. R/S changed over time; the direction of the change varied by type of R/S. Increases in religiosity were associated with increases in weight and QOL; increases in religious coping were associated with decreases in weight and increases in QOL.]

Troyer, J. M. [Department of Behavioral Sciences, Maryville College, Maryville, TN]. "Older widowers and postdeath encounters: a qualitative investigation." Death Studies 38, nos. 6-10 (Jul-Dec 2014): 637-647. [(Abstract:) This study examined older widowers' descriptions and interpretations of their postdeath encounters, including sense of presence experiences and sensory experiences (e.g., saw the deceased, heard the deceased's voice). Six older widowers who had reported at least one postdeath encounter were interviewed. Their responses were interpreted within a constructivist perspective. Each widower's explanation of the encounters generally matched his individual religious/spiritual worldview. The participants used both internal (e.g., "My mind was tricking me") and external (e.g., a sign from heaven) sources to explain their postdeath encounters. The author presents implications for future research.]

Wellman, A. R. [University of Central Missouri]. "Faith without answers: the use of religion among cold case homicide survivors." Omega - Journal of Death & Dying 69, no. 1 (2014): 19-39. [(Abstract:) Through data gathered from interviews with cold case homicide survivors, this article reveals the important role of religion and faith in the aftermath of an unsolved murder. Using qualitative methodology, the author highlights the lived experiences and personal journeys of cold case homicide surviving family members, who are often a forgotten and an overlooked segment of victims. Qualitative data suggests that these cold case homicide survivors found religion to be critical in the aftermath of their loved one's murder. Specifically, survivors indicated their faith was fundamental in coping with the homicide and provided hope for anticipating a resolution in their cases. From these intimate, personal survivor accounts, scholars and practitioners can begin to develop future research and programs that are specifically designed to highlight the role of religion in moving forward after an unsolved murder.]

Zou, J., Huang, Y., Maldonado, L., Kasen, S., Cohen, P. and Chen, H. [Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa]. "The efficacy of religious service attendance in reducing depressive symptoms." Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology 49, no. 6 (Jun 2014): 911-918. [(Abstract:) PURPOSE: To examine whether religiosity may help people ward off depression, we investigated the association between religious service attendance and depressive symptom scores in a community-based 30-year follow-up longitudinal study. METHODS: This study used data on 754 subjects followed over 30 years and evaluated at four time points. Linear mixed effects models were used to assess the association between religious service attendance and depressive symptoms development; frequency of attendance and age also were used as predictors. Demographic factors, life-time trauma, family socioeconomic status, and recent negative events were considered as control variables. RESULTS: Depressive symptom scores were reduced by an average of 0.518 units (95% CI from -0.855 to -0.180, p < 0.005) each year in subjects who attended religious services as compared with subjects who did not. The more frequent the religious service attendance, the stronger the influence on depressive symptoms when compared with non-attendance. Yearly, monthly, and weekly religious service attendance reduced depression scores by 0.474 (95% CI from -0.841 to -0.106, p < 0.01), 0.495 (95% CI from -0.933 to -0.057, p < 0.05) and 0.634 (95% CI from -1.056 to -0.212, p < 0.005) units on average, respectively, when compared with non-attendance after controlling for other covariates. CONCLUSION: Religious service attendance may reduce depressive symptoms significantly, with more frequent attendance having an increasingly greater impact on symptom reduction in this 30-year community-based longitudinal study.]

Zukerman, G. and Korn, L. [School of Health Sciences, Ariel University, Ariel, Israel]. "Post-traumatic stress and world assumptions: the effects of religious coping." Journal of Religion & Health 53, no. 6 (Dec 2014): 1676-1690. [(Abstract:) Religiosity has been shown to moderate the negative effects of traumatic event experiences. The current study was designed to examine the relationship between post-traumatic stress (PTS) following traumatic event exposure; world assumptions defined as basic cognitive schemas regarding the world; and self and religious coping conceptualized as drawing on religious beliefs and practices for understanding and dealing with life stressors. This study examined 777 Israeli undergraduate students who completed several questionnaires which sampled individual world assumptions and religious coping in addition to measuring PTS, as manifested by the PTSD check list. Results indicate that positive religious coping was significantly associated with more positive world assumptions, while negative religious coping was significantly associated with more negative world assumptions. Additionally, negative world assumptions were significantly associated with more avoidance symptoms, while reporting higher rates of traumatic event exposure was significantly associated with more hyper-arousal. These findings suggest that religious-related cognitive schemas directly affect world assumptions by creating protective shields that may prevent the negative effects of confronting an extreme negative experience.]



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