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03.01.2018 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 2/2018

Journal of Religion and Health 2/2018

Religiosity and Telomere Length in Colorectal Cancer Patients in Saudi Arabia

Journal of Religion and Health > Ausgabe 2/2018
Mahmoud Shaheen Al Ahwal, Faten Al Zaben, Mohammad Gamal Sehlo, Doaa Ahmed Khalifa, Harold G. Koenig


Numerous studies have reported a significant relationship between psychological stress, depression, and telomere length (TL), an indicator of cellular lifespan. Religious involvement, which is associated with lower levels of stress and depression, has also recently been related to TL. To our knowledge, this relationship has not yet been examined in Muslims, colorectal cancer patients, cancer patients more generally, or any population outside the USA. A convenience sample of 50 colorectal patients was recruited from hospital-based oncology clinics in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Religious involvement was assessed with the 13-item Muslim Religiosity Scale. Social and psychological mediators were measured using established scales. TL was determined from whole-blood leukocytes using quantitative PCR technology. Bivariate analyses indicated a positive but nonsignificant relationship between religiosity and TL (r = 0.13, p = 0.35). Controlling for age, did not affect the relationship (B = 15.6, SE = 17.3, p = 0.37), nor did controlling for other demographic, social or psychological factors. Religious involvement was unrelated to TL in this small sample of colorectal patients. Future cross-sectional and prospective studies in different populations with larger samples are needed.

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