The following is excerpted from an online article posted by StudyFinds.
A high level of spirituality is associated with better health outcomes, according to research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Scientists report that spirituality helps in reference to both serious illness and overall health. In light of their findings, the authors posit spirituality should be incorporated into various healthcare settings.
What exactly does “spirituality” mean in this research? Per the International Consensus Conference on Spiritual Care in Health Care, spirituality is “the way individuals seek ultimate meaning, purpose, connection, value, or transcendence.” While it may encompass organized religion for many, it can also refer to many other ways of “finding ultimate meaning.”
To research this nuanced topic, study authors systematically identified and subsequently analyzed all available high-quality evidence pertaining to spirituality in connection with serious illness and health published between January 2000-April 2022.
Next, a structured, multidisciplinary group of 27 experts called a Delphi panel came together to analyze the strongest collective evidence extracted from those scientific articles.
The panel concluded that for a generally healthy person, “spiritual community participation” (attending religious services, for example) is linked to a healthier life, greater longevity, better mental health, and less substance use. Moreover, for many people, spirituality influences key outcomes across illness scenarios, such as quality of life and medical care decisions. In response to these findings, study authors believe spirituality should be more universally accounted for across health care settings.
The study was published in JAMA.