Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health (formerly the Center for the Study of Religion, Spirituality and Health)

Durham, NC. (919) 681-6633.

A research program of the Duke University Medical Center, the Center for the Study of Religion, Spirituality and Health studies the effects of religion and spirituality on human health. Professors, medical students, residents, and others are provided opportunities to engage in multidisciplinary research. While most studies focus on the effects of beliefs and practices that are rooted in the Western Judeo-Christian tradition, the Center is open to research on the effects of Eastern spiritualities as well. The Center's Web site features abstracts and references to current and past research. Each research project's objectives, design, and findings are summarized. Topics explored have included religion and survival, religion and immunity, and religion and death anxiety. One interesting finding: older adults who attended religious services once a week or more faced a relative hazard of dying that was 46 percent less than for infrequent attenders,a survival impact comparable to wearing seat-belts or avoiding smoking. The Web site also links interested persons to books on parish nursing, counseling, mental health, and related subjects. Congregational educators and leaders, as well as pastoral caregivers and health professionals, will find a wealth of data from a reputable source.