Faith in God is associated with improved survival after liver transplantation, according to Italian researchers.
This study also finds that religiosity-regardless of cause of death-prolongs the life span of individuals who underwent liver transplantation.
"Our study tested the hypothesis that religiosity-seeking God's help, having faith in God, trusting in God, trying to discern God's will even in the disease-improves survival of patients with end-stage liver disease who underwent liver transplantation," said Franco Bonaguidi, D.Psych., and lead author of the study.
The study team selected 179 patients who received a liver transplant between January 2004 and December 2007, and who also completed the religiosity questionnaire.
Participants had a media age of 52 years and were followed for 4 years post-transplantation.
Results indicate that the Search for God factor and length of stay in the intensive care unit were independently associated with survival.
Furthermore, it was the personal relationship between the patient and God, regardless of religious creed rather than formal church attendance that positively affected survival.
Dr. Bonaguidi concluded, "We found that an active search for God-the patient's faith in a higher power rather than a generic destiny-had a positive impact on patient survival."
The findings have been published in the October issue of Liver Transplantation, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD).