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David R. Williams

In: Religion in Aging and Health: Theoretical Foundations and Methodological Frontiers

Chapter 5: The Measurement of Religion in Epidemiologic Studies: Problems and Prospects

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The Measurement of Religion in Epidemiologic Studies: Problems and Prospects
The measurement of religion in epidemiologic studies: Problems and prospects
DavidR.Williams
Background

Within the last decade there has been a spate of reviews on the role of religion in physical and mental health (see Chapter 7 in this volume). However, it would be a mistake to perceive this interest as new, because a role for religion in health was explicit in the writings of several of the early social scientists. James (1902) distinguished healthy-minded religion from religion of the sick soul. The provision of social integration and meaning systems that Durkheim (1897/1951) and Weber (1964), respectively, attributed to religion have clear health consequences. Marx and Freud had decidedly uncharitable views of religion, but even they conceded that religion ...

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