Religion benefits traumatic brain injury

June 28, 2011 at 8:18 PM
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DETROIT, June 28 (UPI) -- If traumatic brain injury victims feel close to a higher power, it can help them rehabilitate, U.S. researchers found.

Brigid Waldron-Perrine, a graduate from Wayne State University, and Lisa J. Rapport, a professor of psychology at Wayne State University says traumatic brain injury is a disruption of normal brain function after a head injury affects 1.7 million Americans annually.

Waldron-Perrine interviewed and completed neuropsychological tests on 88 individuals diagnosed with traumatic brain injury victims, most of whom were male, African-American Christians.

Participants also completed a neuropsychological measure of their cognitive abilities as did their significant other.

The study, published in Rehabilitation Psychology, found most participants who reported higher levels of religious well-being -- a connection to a higher power -- had better emotional and physical rehabilitation outcomes.

However, public religious activities or practice and existential well-being -- a sense that life has a purpose apart from any religious reference -- did not have such an effect influence on rehabilitation outcome.

This finding may be due to the fact that traumatic brain injury victims lack full control of their ability to participate in public religious practice, Waldron-Perrine says.

"They often must rely on others for scheduling and transportation to social events, so their public religious participation does not wholly reflect their true use of religious resources," Waldron-Perrine says.

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