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Study looks at link between religion and cardiac recovery

Cardiac patients who have a strong religious faith have greater confidence in their ability to perform tasks and complete their rehabilitation, according to a study.

Researchers at Geisinger Medical Centre and Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, USA, are now expanding their study to determine whether those with a strong religious faith also show long-term improvement in their cardiovascular health.

Timothy McConnell, director of cardiac rehabilitation at Geisinger, a 437-bed hospital in Danville that is funding the study, said he hopes to enlist 100 cardiac rehabilitation patients for a five-year study.

For the pilot study, Mr McConnell originally identified 21 patients who had recently had a first heart attack or undergone bypass surgery.

Patients were surveyed to determine their spiritual beliefs and religious practices before beginning their rehabilitation regimes and again after the 12-week program was completed.

Mr McConnell and Chris Boyatzis, a psychology professor at Bucknell, presented their findings in at the annual meeting of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

"We have sort of this interesting link between the patient's religiosity and their confidence to function," Mr Boyatzis said.

"The more religious they were, the more they improved. The more religious faith they had, the more faith they had in their own ability to complete tasks and to function," he said.


Geisinger Medical Centre
Study Eyes Religion, Recovery LINKS (AP)
Geisinger study finds strong religious beliefs aid in cardiac rehab (Religion News Service)
American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation

29 Nov 2002