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Spirituality linked to better health outcomes

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Believing in a higher power is associated with positive physical and psychological well-being, according to research.

In a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, scientists examined the relationship between subjective well-being, health-related behaviors and psychological well-being

Subjective well-being is a term used to describe how people experience and evaluate their lives.

Health outcomes were assessed using four measures:

  • Eating a well-balanced diet.
  • Seeking out and abiding by health and disease recommendations.
  • Having a positive attitude defined as avoiding stress and emotional overload.
  • Actively practicing pro-heath behaviors such as getting enough sleep, relaxing and being physically active.

Psychological well-being was measured using a 42-item questionnaire divided into six subscales:

  • Self-acceptance.
  • Personal growth.
  • Purpose in life.
  • Positive relationships with others.
  • Environmental mastery.
  • Autonomy.

Researchers surveyed 595 students across six Polish Universities. In the survey, 65% of respondents were female and 35% percent were male, and all were between the ages of 18 and 30.

Results showed respondents who considered themselves spiritual had greater health outcomes and reported higher levels of psychological well-being.

“Spirituality plays a significant role in health-related behaviors and in psychological well-being,” authors say in the paper. “Personal focus on physical health and the human body or psychosocial health and the human mind and spirit also determine psychological well-being.”

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