In a new study, around half of physicians said their religious beliefs influenced their clinical practice.
The meta-analysis, published in the journal Medicine, looked at the prevalence of religiosity among 3,342 physicians from 10 samples in seven countries (Austria, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Indonesia, India and the USA). It also explored the influence of physicians’ religiosity on clinical practice.
The analysis of the religious affiliations of the physicians showed a large degree of heterogeneity between the samples. Mean scores of religiosity were significantly lower in the European sub-group and higher in the Asian samples.
Overall, around 50 per cent of physicians agreed with the statement “My religious beliefs influence my practice of medicine”, although again between-samples heterogeneity was significant.
The study found the proportion of European physicians who agreed with the statement was 42 per cent compared with 36 per cent in Brazil, 57 per cent in the USA, 58 per cent in India, and 91 per cent in Indonesia.
The authors concluded that the "education regimes of current and future physicians should encompass this knowledge, and help physicians learn how and when these values support professional and patient-centred care, and when they do not".