Study: Physicians see religion as helpful

More than half of U.S. physicians believe that religion and spirituality can have a positive effect on patients' health, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Chicago. The study, which drew on a 2003 survey of 1,100 doctors across all specialties, found physicians' own religious beliefs had a strong influence on their responses. Not surprisingly, religious physicians were more likely to say that religion influences health and has a positive impact. Seventy-six percent of doctors said that they believe religion helps patients cope with illness. More than half (54 percent) said they believe a supernatural being sometimes intervenes in a patient's care, though only 6 percent said that such interventions change health outcomes. A minority of physicians, meanwhile, had negative feelings about religion's impact. Seven percent suggested that it can cause uncomfortable emotions such as guilt and fear, and 4 percent said patients use religion to avoid managing their own health.

To get more data from the study:
- read this United Press International piece