Religion, spirituality and the well-being of informal caregivers: A review, critique, and research prospectus

Randy S. Hebert, E. Weinstein, L. M. Martire, R. Schulz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The purpose of this article is to review and critique the published literature examining the relationships between religion/spirituality and caregiver well-being and to provide directions for future research. A systematic search was conducted using bibliographic databases, reference sections of articles, and by contacting experts in the field. Articles were reviewed for measurement, theoretical, and design limitations. Eighty-three studies were retrieved. Research on religion/spirituality and caregiver well-being is a burgeoning area of investigation; 37% of the articles were published in the last five years. Evidence for the effects of religion/spirituality were unclear; the preponderance (n=71, 86%) of studies found no or a mixed association (i.e., a combination of positive, negative, or non-significant results) between religion/spirituality and well-being. These ambiguous results are a reflection of the multidimensionality of religion/spirituality and the diversity of well-being outcomes examined. They also partially reflect the frequent use of unrefined measures of religion/spirituality and of atheoretical approaches to studying this topic. Investigators have a fairly large number of studies on religion/spirituality and caregiver well-being on which to build. Future studies should be theory driven and utilize psychometrically sound measures of religion/spirituality. Suggestions are provided to help guide future work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-520
Number of pages24
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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