This article reports a prospective study of religiousness and recovery from heart surgery. Religiousness and other psychosocial factors were assessed in 142 patients about a week prior to surgery. Those with stronger religious beliefs subsequently had fewer complications and shorter hospital stays, the former effect mediating the latter. Attendance at religious services was unrelated to complications but predicted longer hospitalizations. Prayer was not related to recovery. Depressive symptoms were associated with longer hospital stays. Dispositional optimism, trait hostility, and social support were unrelated to outcomes. Effects of religious beliefs and attendance were stronger among women than men and were independent of biomedical and other psychosocial predictors. These findings encourage further examination of differential health effects of the various elements of religiousness.
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