Prayer and reverence in naturalistic, aesthetic, and socio-moral contexts predicted fewer complications following coronary artery bypass

J Behav Med. 2009 Dec;32(6):570-81. doi: 10.1007/s10865-009-9228-1. Epub 2009 Oct 25.


This prospective study explores prayer, reverence, and other aspects of faith in postoperative complications and hospital length of stay of patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Alongside traditional religiousness measures, we examined sense of reverence in religious and secular contexts. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 177 patients 2 weeks before surgery at a medical center. Medical variables were retrieved from the national Society of Thoracic Surgeons' Database. Logistic and multiple regression models were performed to predict outcomes. Prayer frequencies were associated with reduced complications but not hospitalization. Sense of reverence in secular contexts predicted fewer complications and shorter hospitalization. Controlling for complications reduced the initial influence of reverence on hospitalization, suggesting the potential mediation of complications. No interaction between demographics and faith factors was evident. The role of faith in medicine is complex and context-dependent. Future studies are needed on mediating factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / adverse effects
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Religion*
  • Spirituality*
  • Treatment Outcome