$8M study to probe health-religion ties

University of Michigan researchers will interview 3,000 American adults as part of an $8 million study of how religion and health are related.
AP Wire
Oct 13, 2013

The John Templeton Foundation is financing the study, which seeks to establish "solid explanations for why religion has both positive and negative effects on human physiology," the Ann Arbor school said in a statement.

Public health professor Neal Krause and four colleagues from other schools will conduct the study.

Small sample sizes and other research method problems have plagued much of the research on the subject conducted so far, Krause said.

"Research has shown, for example, that people who go to church more often have better health. But we don't know if this means that religion makes people healthier or whether only healthy people are able to get to church in the first place," Krause said. "In order to unravel this and a host of similar issues, you have to follow the same people over time."

Krause said there is strong evidence religion "can be associated with better health" but said the picture is complex.

"It is more accurate to say that religion appears to improve the health of some but not all people. In fact, there is some evidence that there may be harmful aspects of religious involvement for some individuals," he said. "The only way to unify a field is to develop a deliberate plan to do so. So far this has not happened in the religion and health field."

Other researchers on the project are Robert Emmons of the University of California-Davis, Peter Hill of Biola University, Gail Ironson of the University of Miami and Kenneth Pargament of Bowling Green State University.

 

Comments

Mark Thomason

The Templeton Foundation gives about $70 million each year in research grants, so this is about 11.5% of its annual effort.

It is best known for the Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities.

Its aim in practice appears to be to shape the public discourse concerning science in the interests of religion, by swaying academics with much more money than they'd get any other way. Anything or anyone funded by Templeton should be viewed in this light.

ghjhs

And this study helps our country, HOW?. What a huge wast of taxpayer money.

Tri-cities realist

I highly doubt a dime of taxpayer money is being used to fund this, the ACLU would have sued to stop it. Waste of money, perhaps. Waste of taxpayer money, doubtful.

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