Does Religious Participation Contribute to Human Flourishing?
Citation (APA): VanderWeele, T. J. (2017). Does Religious Participation Contribute to Human Flourishing? [Kindle Android version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com
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Does Religious Participation Contribute to Human Flourishing? By Tyler J. VanderWeele
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Communal forms of religious participation sometimes come under criticism for promoting narrow-minded perspectives or even contributing to violence
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x VIOLENZA E ROSTRETTEZZA MENTALE
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recent research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Internal Medicine and JAMA Psychiatry and in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine indicates that regular religious-service attendance is associated with a number of positive outcomes, including: a roughly 30 percent reduction in mortality over 16 years of follow-up; a five-fold reduction in the likelihood of suicide; and a 30 percent reduction in the incidence of depression.
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x ASPETTI POSITIVI
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data from the Nurses’ Health Study, a long-term study of approximately one hundred thousand nurses with data collected over several decades.
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However, prior studies had come under criticism for not considering the possibility of “reverse causation.” Perhaps only those who are healthy can attend religious services,
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x OB NESSO
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new research addresses this
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The associations between religious-service attendance and longevity, suicide, and depression all remained robust.
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American Journal of Epidemiology,
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service attendance itself— rather than self-assessed religiosity or spirituality or even solitary spiritual practice— is the most reliable predictor of health.
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x FREQUENTAZIONE E GENERICA SPIRITUALITÁ
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other positive outcomes. These include: greater likelihood of healthy social relationships and stable marriages; an increased sense of meaning in life; higher life satisfaction; an expansion of one’s social network; and more charitable giving, volunteering, and civic engagement.
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x ALTRI VFATTORI POSITIVI
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is religious-service attendance, rather than private practices or self-assessed spirituality,
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these findings may help health-care providers by giving insight into how religious participation can be a powerful social determinant of health.
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x MISURE SANITARIE
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but many physicians feel uncomfortable doing so.
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Is faith (religion or spirituality) important to you in this illness? Has faith been important to you at other times in your life? Do you have someone to talk to about religious matters? Would you like to explore religious matters with someone? Answering such questions may help a health-care provider assess whether religious faith plays an important role in a patient’s life
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x SONDARE IL PAZIENTE
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for those who do already identify as religious, service attendance might be encouraged, even in the clinical setting, as a form of meaningful social participation.
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Why is it that communal religious participation appears to have such powerful health effects? One obvious explanation is social support: By attending religious services, one develops social support
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x PERCHÈ TANTO BENESSERE? UNO SUPPORTO SOCISLE
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the social and behavioral norms associated with religious services appear to lead to a reduced likelihood of smoking, which, of course, may positively affect health. Another possible explanation concerns one’s outlook on life. Those who attend religious services appear to have higher levels of optimism
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x FUMO OTYIMISMO
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development of self-discipline or a sense of meaning and purpose.
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x AUTOCONTROLLO E SENSO
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cannot be explained by just one mechanism.
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many pathways from religion to health.
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Are these mechanisms fundamentally religious in nature?
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careful consideration of how religious services may affect various aspects of one’s life suggests that the role of religion may, in fact, be important.
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x PARTICOLARE REIGIONE
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Of course, social support is present in numerous secular contexts. But within the religious context, the concept of community often takes on singular practical and theological importance.
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x ES SOCIAL SUPPORT
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If the communal experience of common worship and common values have religious content, perhaps the resulting communal support is both social and religious in nature.
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Similarly, while the concept of optimism is not inherently religious, the message of faith and hope present in religious preaching, readings, and music is central to many religious groups.
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x UN CONTO L OTTIMISMO UN CONTO LA SPERANZW
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giving up smoking may partly be explained by the emphasis of some religious groups on vice or the idea that the human body is a temple of God.
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x RELIGIOSITÀ E FUMO
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Likewise, hypothesized mechanisms of a shared sense of meaning or purpose in life, or a shared communal outlook shaped by faith, hope, and love, are both religious and social.
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x SIGNIFICATO E RELIGIONE
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no good way to separate the religious and the social