Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Can adherence to Christian principles help suffering patients?

Hello again, welcome back! We have been exploring the exciting topic of Scripture and how adherence to the Christian principles of daily living (prayer, praise, fellowship, receiving Biblical teaching and service) enhance a person's wellbeing (Acts 2:42,47).

In prior blogs we have reported our findings in the general healthy population, but can the medically ill also improve their wellbeing through Christian living? Can the same Biblical principles apply in individuals suffering the emotional distress of sickness?

We recently examined this question in a cross-sectional survey of patients with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension (Stewart WC, Sharpe ED, Kristoffersen CJ, Nelson LA, Stewart JA. Association of strength of religious adherence to attitudes regarding glaucoma or ocular hypertension. Ophthalmic Res 2011:45:53-6). We evaluated self-reported religious adherence to specific basic activities and knowledge of faith and personal comfort. This specific analysis was limited to self-professed Christians.

The survey included 248 patients from one clinical practice in Charleston, SC and showed that those who were adherent to activities intended to create religious maturity (drawing encouragement from other church members, reading Scripture or encouraging others to have faith), and had at least a basic knowledge about their faith, demonstrated greater comfort related to their illness and treatment. Specifically, comfort was manifested as: a positive attitude towards their disease, a better ability to cope with their symptoms, a belief that God was concerned about their diagnosis and helped with their treatment. 

When the findings were further analyzed by assessing those subjects who were most 'adherent', compared to those who were least adherent, an even greater separation between groups was observed with respect to comfort. This finding may indicate that the more serious a person is about the practice of their religion, the greater sense of wellbeing they may derive from it. 

This study suggested that Christian practice may assist patients in better coping with their disease and that it may possibly increase the quality of their life. This study included patients with a chronic ocular disease. Would the same principles also apply in patients with acute or systemic disease?

Thanks for visiting. I hope you will return next week for further discussion about the practical use of the Bible in daily life.

No comments:

Post a Comment