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International Archives of Medicine
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Influence of religious leaders in the health-disease process

Introduction: Religion has helped the lower classes to raise the perspective of “divine justice” in the struggle for survival by allowing their believers to seek, in their practices, under the influence of religious leaders, the main guidelines to alleviate the suffering from the health-disease process.

Objective: Unveil the limits and potentialities of religious leaders’ influence on the health-disease process.

Materials and Methods: Exploratory-type research, with a qualitative approach, based methodologically on the Historical Dialectical Materialism. For the data analysis, one used the discourse analysis technique proposed by Fiorin.

Results: From the empirical universe, two analytical categories emerged: (1. Limits and possibilities of religious influence in relation to the health-disease process; 2. Vulnerabilities of the Unified Health System and the complementarity of religion: Interfaces of the health-disease process in postmodernity), in which religious practices, institutions and leaders express positively health care in the face of the disease process. However, the religious leader’s power relations over the community and religious fanaticism make the search for religion to have a negative influence on people’s health-disease process.

Conclusion: Religious leaders encourage the complementarity between religion and medicine only at times when their believers need medium and high-complexity assistance, showing little attention to the preventive aspects of self-care, which reinforces the need to invest in new studies in the area.

from International Archives of Medicine

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