“Considerable research suggests a complex but usually beneficial relationship between religious involvement and mental health. The most massive review to date found statistically significant positive associations in 476 of 724 quantitative studies (Koenig, McCullough, & Larson, 586 October 2011 ● American Psychologist 2001). In general, religious or spiritual involvement is most likely to be beneficial when it centers on themes such as love and forgiveness and is likely to be less helpful or even
harmful to mental health when themes of punishment and guilt predominate.
Benefits span an array of health measures. Mental health benefits include enhanced psychological, relational, and marital well-being, as well as reduced rates of disorders such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicide. For physical health, religious involvement seems beneficially related to both specific disorders such as hypertension and to nonspecific mortality rates (Koenig et al.,2001). Strikingly, those who attend religious services at least weekly tend to live approximately seven years longer than those who do not, even when factors such as baseline health and health behaviors are statistically controlled (Koenig et al., 2001). Important mediating and contributory factors likely include service to others and especially social support. Contemplative practices such as meditation offer further psychological, somatic, and spiritual benefits (Didonna, 2009; Shapiro & Carlson, 2009; Walsh & Shapiro”