Religious cognitions and use of prayer in health and illness

Gerontologist. 1990 Apr;30(2):249-53. doi: 10.1093/geront/30.2.249.


Forty adults aged 65-74 were asked about God's role in health and illness and about their use of prayer in response to recent physical symptoms. Most held a belief in a benevolent God but were not clear about God's role in health and illness. Over half had prayed about at least one symptom the last time they had it. The least-educated respondents and the Baptists were most likely to pray. Symptoms discussed with a physician or for which drugs were taken were more likely than others to be prayed over, suggesting that prayer may be used for symptoms seen as serious and that prayer and medical help-seeking are not mutually exclusive.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Religion and Medicine*
  • Sick Role*