Religion, Spirituality Have Dual Roles in Better Health

Emerging research suggests religion and spirituality have distinct but complementary influences on health.

Oregon State University researchers looked at the relationship between health, religion, and spirituality and developed a theoretical model that defines two distinct pathways.

“Religion helps regulate behavior and health habits, while spirituality regulates your emotions, how you feel,” said Carolyn Aldwin, Ph.D., a gerontology professor at Oregon State University.

Religiousness, including formal religious affiliation and service attendance, is associated with better health habits, such as lower smoking rates and reduced alcohol consumption.


Spirituality refers to prayer and meditation. I believe meditation in Christian terms is called contemplation.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit