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Sunday, May 22, 2022

Is there a relationship between spirituality/religiosity and resilience? A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies

Schwalm, S.D., Zandavalli, R. B., et al.
J Health Psychol. 2022 
doi: 10.1177/1359105320984537.


Resilience is the ability to recover or cope with adverse situations. Spiritual and religious beliefs may be associated with important "resilience resources." To investigate whether there is a relationship between spirituality/religiosity (S/R) and resilience. This is a systematic review (observational studies) with meta-analysis following the PRISMA guidelines. From a total of 2468 articles, 34 observational studies were included. We identified a moderate positive correlation between S/R and resilience (r = 0.40 (95% CI, 0.32-0.48], p < 0.01). When only high-quality articles were included, the results were maintained. Conclusion: A moderate positive correlation was found between S/R and resilience.


The results presented in this review showed a moderate correlation between S/R and resilience, and these findings were maintained even when only high-quality studies were included in the meta-analysis. In addition, subgroup analyses revealed that spirituality measures seem to be strongly correlated with resilience as compared to religiosity measures. Understanding this association can help researchers, health professionals, and administrators to develop preventive strategies to stimulate resilience in their patients and to design future studies in this area.

Many studies have evaluated the association between S/R and resilience presenting similar results. Fangauf (2014), evaluated 343 persons from three different ethnicities and found a correlation of 0.53; Han et al. (2016) measured this association in 898 Chinese volunteers after the 2008 Qiang earthquake and found a correlation of 0.40, and Howel and Miller-Graff (2014) assessed 321 American students who were victims of childhood violence, finding a correlation of 0.38. Despite the fact that there is a wide array of evidence linking S/R and resilience, so far we have not identified systematic reviews on the topic. These previous studies corroborate our meta-analysis, which found a moderate correlation between S/R and resilience, even when including only high-quality studies.