Bad Spiritual Beliefs Can Negatively Impact Mental Health

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People who are ill and harbor negative spiritual beliefs are more likely to have pain and worse mental health.

Brick Johnstone, PhD, a neuropsychologist and professor of health psychology in the University of Missouri School of Health Professions, and colleagues examined almost 200 people to find out how their spiritual beliefs influenced their health outcomes.

The participants were divided into two groups: One considered a negative spirituality group of those who felt abandoned by a higher power. And another group who had a more positive view of a higher power. They were then asked about their mental and physical health.

Those in the negative spirituality group reported significantly worse pain as well as worse physical and mental health, while those with positive spirituality reported better mental health, the researchers reported. But even in the second group, if individuals reported having any degree of negative spiritual beliefs, it was associated with poorer health outcomes.

Participants s with negative spiritual beliefs also reported participating in religious practices less often and having lower levels of forgiveness.

Interventions that help combat negative spiritual beliefs and promote positive spiritual beliefs could help some individuals improve their pain and their mental health, Johnstone noted.

Bad Spiritual Beliefs Can Negatively Impact Mental Health
Those in the negative spirituality group reported significantly worse pain as well as worse physical and mental health.

Individuals who blame karma for their poor health have more pain and worse physical and mental health, according to a new study from University of Missouri researchers. Targeted interventions to counteract negative spiritual beliefs could help some individuals decrease pain and improve their overall health, the researchers said.

Researchers studied nearly 200 individuals to find out how their spiritual beliefs affected their health outcomes. Individuals in the study had a range of health conditions, such as cancer, traumatic brain injury or chronic pain, and others were healthy.

The researchers divided the individuals into two groups: a negative spirituality group that consisted of those who reported feeling abandoned or punished by a higher power, and a no negative spirituality group that consisted of people who didn't feel abandoned or punished by a higher power. Participants answered questions about their emotional and physical health, including physical pain.

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