Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Stroke Health Center

Font Size

Faith May Help Stroke Patients Cope

Study: Less Emotional Distress in Those With Strong Religious Beliefs
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Feb. 15, 2007 -- Strong religious beliefs can protect stroke patients from emotional distress, perhaps aiding recovery, according to a new Italian study.

Emotional distress, particularly depression, has been shown in other research to negatively affect recovery during a stroke patient's hospitalization or after discharge.

In this study, researchers from Rome interviewed 132 survivors of stroke -- median age: 72.

They asked about the survivors' religious beliefs and spirituality. They also evaluated them for anxiety and depression.

Their finding: The higher the anxiety and depression scores, the lower the religious and spirituality beliefs.

The association held even after the researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect emotional distress, such as the degree of physical functioning after the stroke, marital status, and living conditions.

The study was done by Salvatore Giaquinto, MD, of the San Raffaele Pisana Rehabilitation Center in Rome, and fellow researchers.

Behind the Link

Exactly why strong faith is linked to less distress is not known.

The researchers speculate that people who are active in religious activities may have more social support, and that can positively influence the outcomes in stroke as well as other illnesses.

While most of the patients surveyed were Roman Catholic, the researchers note that religious coping mechanisms have been identified in non-Catholic people as well.

The researchers suggest that the degree of faith and religious beliefs be considered in post-stroke rehab, and that patients be provided spiritual assistance if desired.

Today on WebMD

brain illustration stroke
Know these 5 signs.
brain scans
Test your stroke smarts.
woman with migraine
Is there a link?
brain scan
Get the facts.
brain scans
woman with migraine
brain scan
senior man stretching pre workout
Floor level view of therapist helping stroke patie
concerned woman
Lowering Cholesterol Slideshow