Date of Paper

5-2013

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Sarah M. Ferguson

Abstract

Given the large number of people who identify as religious in the United States and the large number of the overall population diagnosed with a mental illness, there is a need for linking an easily accessible practice like prayer to a common and often painful problem of managing mental health symptoms. Using a Practical Meta-Analysis, this research project examined prayer’s efficacy when used as a coping strategy to relieve mental health symptoms. A Practical Meta-Analysis is a statistical method that synthesizes findings from multiple research studies and provides a quantitative measure of an intervention’s efficacy as a whole. Of 598 articles located in five databases searched, the thirteen included studies produced thirty unique effect sizes that were used in the Practical Meta-Analysis calculations. The meta-analysis’ result was an average effect size of -0.0184 with a p-value of 0.3665, which is a small, yet insignificant magnitude. However, when considering the overall group of included studies, sixty percent of these studies showed prayer being associated with improved mental health symptoms. The findings of this study support the need for future research on how prayer can be a helpful intervention for people to use in coping with mental health symptoms.

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