Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Comparative Religion

First Advisor

Dr. Stephen G. Covell

Second Advisor

Dr. David Ede

Third Advisor

Dr. Paul Copp

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


The Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation requires that spiritual care needs be addressed as a part of patient care. As support of religious coping becomes a part of providing medical care and clinical training, evidence as to the theoretical and causal mechanisms of health status improvement in relation to religious belief, must be determined. Additionally, multiple cultural and religious worldviews must be taken into account in patient care and clinical training as well.

This literature review outlines: 1) the demographic trends that will impact the provision of health care to religiously diverse populations, 2) the possible mechanisms involved in the effect of religious belief on health outcomes, and 3) whether those mechanisms can be differentiated from social and psychological theories regarding the determinants of health. The remainder of the paper describes the historical, cultural and religious foundations for provision of care to populations who have ethnic, cultural and religious ties to Japanese, Chinese, Afro-Caribbean and Islamic culture, world review and religious belief Each chapter also includes discussion regarding the impact on patient care and health outcomes where religious belief is not accommodated.

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