Researchers have found that “People who believe in a benevolent God tend to worry less and are more tolerant than those who believe in an indifferent or punishing God”.
A paper recently published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology concludes that mental health professionals should integrate a patient’s spiritual beliefs into the treatment regimens they are offered, especially for those who are religious.
“The matter is “a health care issue, not a religious issue,” said lead author David H. Rosmarin of the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital. “The implications of this paper for the field of psychiatry are that we have to take patients’ spirituality more seriously than we do.”
The findings were based on two studies.
The first questioned Christians and Jews and found those who trusted in God to look out for them had lower levels of worry and less intolerance of uncertainty in their lives than those who had a “mistrust” of God to help them out.
The second study was of subjects from Jewish organizations who were shown audio-video material designed to increase their trust, and decrease mistrust, in God. After participating for two weeks in the programme the group not only reported significant increasing trust in God but also clinically and statistically significant decreases in intolerance of uncertainty, worry and stress.
The research paper, Incorporating spiritual beliefs into a cognitive model of worry, was published in the July 2011 edition of the Journal of Clinical Psychology.