Study Finds One-Third of Americans Pray for Health

( [email protected] ) Apr 27, 2004 10:08 AM EDT

According to a survey released on Monday, April 26, which was conducted by Harvard Medical School, about one third of U.S. adults pray for health.

The Boston researchers conducted a national survey of 2,055 U.S. adults between October 1997 and February 1998. It revealed that 35 percent of the respondents used prayer for health concerns, 75 percent of those people prayed for wellness and 22 percent prayed for specific medical conditions such as depression, headaches and back pain. Of those 35 percent praying for specific medical conditions, 69 percent found prayer very helpful, according to the researchers.

IT was also found that people older than 33 years, women and those with schooling past high school were all more likely to use prayer for health reasons.

The author Dr. Anne M. McCaffrey reported that people turn to prayer for health reasons as a way to cope with the world, to accept their illness, and to feel less isolated by their condition.

"In summary, we found that prayer for health concerns is a highly prevalent practice," the authors wrote. "Prayer is most often directed toward wellness and used in conjunction with conventional medical care."

The study is released in The Archives of Internal Medicine.