Is Religiousness a Correlate of Absorption? Implications for Psychophysiology, Coping, and Morbidity

Altern Ther Health Med. 1998 Nov;4(6):72-6.


Context: Evidence synthesized from social epidemiology, psychophysiology, and behavioral medicine suggests that religiousness may represent a significant correlate of absorption, a construct for which few if any psychosocial determinants have been identified.

Objective: To examine the association between absorption and intrinsic and extrinsic religiousness.

Participants: 83 respondents of a self-administered survey of adult survivors of cancer or other life-threatening diseases, recruited from participants in a pilot study of psychosocial factors related to recovery from illness.

Main measures: Tellegen Absorption Scale and Religious Orientation Scale.

Results: Absorption, as assessed by the Tellegen Absorption Scale, was positively and significantly associated with intrinsic religiousness, as measured by the Religious Orientation Scale. Predominantly intrinsic subjects had absorption scores at least 20% higher than did predominantly extrinsic, proreligious, or nonreligious subjects.

Discussion: Prior research has found that absorption and hypnotizability have psychophysiological correlates, and that religiousness shows protective effects against morbidity and mortality. In light of this work, the present findings suggest that certain religious cognitions, emotions, or experiences may generate an internally focused state that enhances health and attenuates disease through self-soothing psychophysiological mechanisms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychophysiology
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires