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Prayer in the Management of Anxiety Disorders

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The topic of mental health is extremely relevant for the field of nursing especially during the COVID 19 pandemic. The world’s coronavirus outbreak has placed new stressors in the population and has increased the levels of stress and anxiety. Considering that reality, this paper discusses the importance of the topic along with prayer as a non-pharmacological intervention that can be used as adjuvant therapy in the treatment of these conditions. The research will be structured in a PICO question format in which the population will be patients suffering from anxiety disorders, the intervention will be prayer, a comparison is a control group that is similar to the intervention group but it is not receiving prayer and the outcome is the improvement of coping with anxiety and stress measured by three different phycological scales.


Mental health is a topic of great relevance in the field of nursing. The nursing profession is known for its closeness to patient care. From the admission to the hospital to the discharge, nurses interact with patients for a large amount of time. Nurses spend so much time with the patients that they can relate to all the anxiety and stress that the patient goes thru during their hospitalization.

In the outpatient setting, mental health also plays a big role in the functionality and the quality of life of individuals. According to surveys performed in June 2020 by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, adults reported a significant increase in anxiety conditions compared with the same quarter the year before. There was a significant increase in symptoms of anxiety when compared with the second quarter of 2019 going from 8.1% to 25.5% (Czeisler et al., 2020). The challenges related to COVID-19 are notorious and its psychosocial impact demands interventions that aim to improve the mental health outcome of the general population.

There is a variety of therapeutics used to deal with an anxiety disorder. Non-pharmacological and pharmacological management is available. On the non-pharmacological side, are interventions such as behavioral and cognitive therapy, complementary and alternative therapies. This paper focuses on the use of prayer as a non-pharmacological intervention beneficial in the treatment of anxiety disorders. The research will be done in a PICO question format.

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Prayer is an act of communication with God. It is a spiritual discipline that pursues contact with deity. Prayer can be done on a personal level (for one’s self) or on behalf of another person. Many research studies have been done to analyze the relationship between prayer and the improvement of health conditions. Furthermore, the results of those studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of prayer in the management of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. (Anderson & Nunnelley, 2016).

PICO is an effective method used to answer research questions that help to focus the study and avoid unnecessary research. PICO is an acronym in which P means patient/ population/problem, I stands for intervention, C is for comparison and O means outcome. (Cañón & Buitrago-Gómez 2018).

For this research question, the population will be patients that are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, that are 18 years and older, and are under medical treatment for this condition. The intervention is prayer on a person-to-person basis without physical contact asking God for peace, healing of negative emotions, the release of potential stressors, and forgiveness. The comparison is a control group with similar characteristics to the intervention group but that is not receiving prayer or any other non-pharmacological management. The outcome is an improvement in the patient’s capacity to cope with anxiety and stress. It will be measured using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HARS), Daily Spiritual Experiences Scale, and Life Orientation Test (Boelens el al., 2009).


Mental health is a key component of individual overall wellbeing. Nurses often encounter patients dealing with situations that affect their mental health such as anxiety and stress, especially after the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic. There are multiple treatments for anxiety disorders that involve pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions. This research question investigates if prayer can be an effective mechanism to help patients to cope with stress and anxiety.

Prayer is a spiritual practice that seeks communication with God. There is scientific evidence that shows the benefits of prayer in the management of health conditions and in the reduction of levels of stress and anxiety. The goal of the PICO question described in this paper is to improve nursing practices and combine the best evidence available with clinical judgment to offer better management for patients with anxiety disorders through prayer.

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Prayer in the Management of Anxiety Disorders. (2022, July 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from
“Prayer in the Management of Anxiety Disorders.” Edubirdie, 08 Jul. 2022,
Prayer in the Management of Anxiety Disorders. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 3 Feb. 2023].
Prayer in the Management of Anxiety Disorders [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 08 [cited 2023 Feb 3]. Available from:
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