Physicians in the USA: Attendance, Beliefs and Patient Interactions

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While much religion-health research depends on social support explanations, little is known about whether religious support is also a part of clinical interactions. How many physicians include religious/spiritual topics in clinical conversations? What characteristics are related to inclusion or avoidance? Using a national sample (n = 1,144), this study provides an overview of religious beliefs and practices of physicians in the USA and their patient interactions. Physician attendance rates are related to the inclusion of religious/spiritual topics, but the religious/spiritual orientation of physicians more closely relates to religious/spiritual patient interactions. Further, some physician specialties have more religious/spiritual physicians than others, providing additional reason to think religious/spiritual patient conversations are not equally distributed throughout the medical landscape.