Religious/Spiritual Characteristics of Indian and Indonesian Physicians and Their Acceptance of Spirituality in Health care: A Cross-Cultural Comparison.

Journal of religion and health

PubMedID: 24944165

Ramakrishnan P, Karimah A, Kuntaman K, Shukla A, Ansari BK, Rao PH, Ahmed M, Tribulato A, Agarwal AK, Koenig HG, Murthy P. Religious/Spiritual Characteristics of Indian and Indonesian Physicians and Their Acceptance of Spirituality in Health care: A Cross-Cultural Comparison. J Relig Health. 2014;.
Religious/spiritual (r/s) characteristics of physicians influence their attitude toward integrative medicine and spiritual care. Indonesia physicians collaborate with traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine (TCAM) professionals within modern healthcare system, while Indian physicians are not reported to do so. The aim of the study was to understand the r/s characteristics and their influence on Indian and Indonesian physicians' acceptance of TCAM/spirituality in modern healthcare system. An exploratory, pilot, cross-cultural, cross-sectional study, using Religion and Spirituality in Medicine, and Physician Perspectives (RSMPP) survey questionnaire, compared r/s characteristics and perspectives on integrative medicine of 169 physicians from two allopathic, Sweekar-Osmania University (Sweekar-OU), India, University of Airlanga (UNAIR), Indonesia, and a TCAM/Central Research Institute of Unani Medicine (CRIUM) institute from India. More physicians from UNAIR and CRIUM (89.1 %) described themselves as "very"/"moderately" religious, compared to 63.5 % Sweekar-OU (p = 0.0000). Greater number of (84.6 %) UNAIR physicians described themselves as "very" spiritual and also significantly high (p < 0.05) in intrinsic religiosity as compared to Sweekar-OU and TCAM physicians; 38.6 % of UNAIR and 32.6 % of CRIUM participants reported life-changing spiritual experiences in clinical settings as against 19.7 % of Sweekar-OU; 92.3 % of UNAIR, compared to CRIUM (78.3 %) and Sweekar-OU (62 %), felt comfortable attending to patients' spiritual needs, (p = 0.0001). Clinical comfort and not r/s characteristics of participants was the significant (p = 0.05) variable in full regression models, predictive of primary outcome criteria; "TCAM or r/s healing as complementary to allopathic treatment." In conclusion, mainstreaming TCAM into healthcare system may be an initial step toward both integrative medicine and also improving r/s care interventions by allopathic physicians.