|By MD., MHSc., Prof. Dr., Harold G. Koenig
Duke University & Duke Medical School, North Carolina
Post Conference Ressources
Video – open here
PowerPoint – download here
CV – download here
Dr. Koenig will provide a definition of religion and spirituality for research purposes, emphasizing the importance of non-overlapping constructs (particularly not overlapping with positive aspects of mental health) that do not lead to tautological, meaningless findings. He will then briefly review previous research findings on relationships between faith, mental health, and physical health, and will discuss differences between studies in the U.S. and Europe. He will present a theoretical interactive model that describes how religion may impact health and longevity. This model emphasizes the source of religion’s effects and describes the mental, behavioral, and social pathways by which religion may influence either resistance to disease or greater vulnerability to it. He will emphasize the bi-directionality of relationships in this model, discussing how mental and physical illness may influence religious beliefs and commitments. He will also discuss how common genetic factors that may underlie some of these associations. Dr. Koenig will then review the highest priority areas for research for the future, emphasizing the most important questions that need answering in mental health, physical health, disease prevention, and clinical applications (as well as pointing out “dead ends” in research). He will emphasize the need for collaboration and multi-center studies, as well as the importance of clinical trials and intervention studies. Finally, Dr. Koenig will also provide resources for researchers who wish to conduct studies in religion, spirituality and health.
Harold G. Koenig, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Associate Professor of Medicine
Director, Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health (effective July 2010)
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, North Carolina USA