In the life of contemporary society, the role of religion in modern medical system is limited. The medical system is run based on a liberal secular perspective that neglects aspects of religion and spirituality (Shinall 2009). No doubt this system has improved human health conditions for a certain period of time.
The use of modern medicine, as previously thought, can actually increase life expectancy, control epidemics, and is a more advanced way of diagnosing and determining treatment of malignant diseases, such as cancer. Modern medicine reduces the rate of death from chronic diseases, but in reality patients still need help to deal with other challenges associated with their disease (Maslow et al. 2011).
The academics recognize the existence of religiosity, spirituality, and social support as factors of social behavior that affect the ability of patients to fight against their chronic diseases. However, in reality, there are not many studies that discuss religiosity, spirituality and social support as a method of coping in hepatitis patients (Sohail et al. 2018). Therefore, this study seeks to explain empirical facts about how these factors affect patients and aim to find a connection between the struggle against disease with the existence of religiosity, spirituality, and social supports.
Several other studies showed the role of religiosity in the coping method (Nelson-Becker 2005), and it is also used in the environment of medical students (Imran et al. 2016). Thanks to the belief in religiosity, the patient can face hopelessness when they are sick. Amadi et al. (2016) argue that religiosity is associated with better and more reliable coping strategies when struggling with diabetes and the effects of depression. A study found significant statistical data about the connection between spirituality and coping methods in dealing with Krok’s life stresses (2008).
However, there are other studies that have found a significant connection between social support and coping methods, not religiosity, or spirituality. The finding of this contradiction is supported by (Mann et al. 2010) which shows that religiosity or spirituality does not reduce stress levels; instead it adds to the stress threshold for women. On the other hand, social support and good relationship quality are predicted as factors that can reduce stress levels.
These findings showed that the role of social support in coping is greater than the role of religiosity and spirituality of patients. Patients express their feelings about the social support they feel when they get a visit from their relatives and peers (Sohail et al. 2018). These patients feel safer and feel constructive emotional support. Even so, spirituality is clearly inseparable from religiosity and social support, because religion/spirituality is connected with social support (Mann et al. 2010).
Theoretically, religiosity and spirituality are different concepts but based on research conducted in Muslim societies, the two concepts are interrelated. The concepts of religiosity and spirituality in Muslim context are no different (Jafari et al. 2014). This fact is supported by several studies stating that studies of spirituality and health by Muslims and Western nations do have similarities and differences (Weathers 2018; Sohail 2018).
Other findings showed the connection between social support and religiosity can be observed from the community and religious practices that provide social support both for body and soul. Religious activities open up opportunities and media for social interaction (Merino and Nevado 2014; Ariadi et al. 2018). Religious support based on religion can overcome the problem of depression (Krause 2002). Studies showed social support supported by religious communities can increase the benefits of social support itself (Ellison et al. 2010).
The connection between religion and health has long been known to this day, and recently is increasingly prominent in social behavior and health sciences. This study found a high correlation between religiosity, spirituality, and coping strategies. The same thing is also found in social support, which is more involved in coping strategies than in the other two aspects.
It can be said that social support occupies the top position as a supporting factor for patient coping strategies. Even so, the true spirituality, religiosity and social support are mutually connected with each other.
In this study, it was emphasized that religiosity and spirituality had a great impact on the handling and healing of patients. This study recommends medical personnel, doctors, to put religious and spiritual aspects as part of the healing process because faith is the most potent healer. This study also explains that qualitative studies must continue to be carried out to understand this phenomenon better. (*)
Author: Siti Mas’udah
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