Strong religious faith may help reduce emotional distress that can hinder recovery from stroke, Italian research suggests.
The study included 132 stroke survivors (median age 72) who were interviewed about their religious beliefs and spirituality.
Lower levels of belief/spirituality were associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety. The reason for this association is not clear, but one possibility is that religiously active people may have more social support, the study authors said.
Support may make difference
"Religious people who are active in their communities are more likely to receive external aid that can be provided by volunteers," Dr Salvatore Giaquinto, chairman of the department of rehabilitation at the San Raffaele Pisana Rehabilitation Centre in Rome, said in a prepared statement.
"Social support lets them experience feelings of care, love and esteem. The new experience of support and the background of faith tell the patients that they are not alone," Giaquinto said.
While unique, this research does not offer any solid evidence, Dr Lalit Kalra, a stroke professor at King's College London School of Medicine in England, wrote in an accompanying editorial in the journal Stroke.
"The study does not establish that religious beliefs will definitely reduce emotional distress but shows that people who are religious have better coping abilities. Hence, both these variables may define personal attributes of the patient; in other words, religious beliefs do not make a person cope better but identify patients who have better abilities to cope with chronic illness," Kalra said. – (HealthDayNews)
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