ABI Research Program Manager Shepherd Center Atlanta, Georgia
There is increased recognition that religious practices, spiritual beliefs, and congregation-based social support strongly influence health outcomes for individuals with disabilities. However, the integration of these resources into rehabilitation settings has been limited due to long-standing hesitancies to integrate religion into health care. With the increased acceptance of alternative health practices (e.g., meditation, yoga, acupuncture) rehabilitation professionals are increasingly open to using these religious and spiritual resources. This presentation offers empirical research that demonstrates: 1) relationships among religious and spiritual resources and health outcomes for individuals with various disabilities (i.e., TBI, CVA, SCI); 2) a psychoneuroimmunological model to explain how these variables both positively and negatively influence health; 3) a neuropsychological model that explains the relationships between brain structures/function, spiritual transcendence, and positive mental health; and 4) the effectiveness of religious/spiritually based treatments (e.g., centering prayer, meditation, forgiveness interventions) for persons with disabilities.
Differential relationships among religiosity, spirituality, and health outcomes for individuals with various disabilities.
The psychoneuroimmunological mechanisms that explain the relationships between religious/spiritual variables and health outcomes.
The neuropsychological mechanisms that explain the relationships between spiritual transcendence and positive health outcomes.
Empirically based religious and spiritual interventions to improve the health outcomes of individuals with disabilities.