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Exploring the Relationship between Spirituality, Coping, and Pain

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By AB Wacholtz, et al. • • July 10, 2007

Journal: Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 2007 Jun 2; [E-publication ahead of print ]

Authors and affiliation: Wachholtz AB, Pearce MJ, Koenig H. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA.

PMID: 17541817

There is growing recognition that persistent pain is a complex and multidimensional experience stemming from the interrelationship among biological, psychological, social, and spiritual factors. Chronic pain patients use a number of cognitive and behavioral strategies to cope with their pain, including religious/spiritual forms of coping, such as prayer, and seeking spiritual support to manage their pain.

This article will explore the relationship between the experience of pain and religion/spirituality with the aim of understanding not only why some people rely on their faith to cope with pain, but also how religion/spirituality may impact the experience of pain and help or hinder the coping process.

We will also identify future research priorities that may provide fruitful research in illuminating the relationship between religion/spirituality and pain.

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