The Handbook of Religion and Health has become the seminal research text on religion, spirituality, and health, outlining a rational argument for the connection between religion and health. The Second Edition completely revises and updates the first edition. Its authors are physicians: a psychiatrist and geriatrician, a primary care physician, and a psychiatrist and theologian, all with advanced degrees in epidemiology and public health. The Second Edition surveys the historical connections between religion and health and grapples with the distinction between the terms "religion" and "spirituality" in research and clinical practice. It reviews research on religion and mental health, as well as extensive research literature on the mind-body relationship, and develops a model to explain how religious involvement may impact physical health through the mind-body mechanisms.
It also explores the direct relationships between religion and physical health, covering such topics as immune and endocrine function, heart disease, hypertension and stroke, neurological disorders, cancer, and infectious diseases; and examines the consequences of illness including chronic pain, disability, and quality of life. Finally, the Handbook reviews research methods and addresses applications to clinical practice. Theological perspectives are interwoven throughout the chapters. The Handbook is the most insightful and authoritative resource available to anyone who wants to understand the relationship between religion and health.