Mental and Behavioural Responses to Bahá'í Fasting : Looking behind the Scenes of a Religiously Motivated Intermittent Fast Using a Mixed Methods Approach

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2022
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Ring, Raphaela M.
Kandil, Farid I.
Steckhan, Nico
Demmrich, Sarah
Klatte, Caroline
Kessler, Christian S.
Jeitler, Michael
Michalsen, Andreas
Koppold-Liebscher, Daniela A.
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Nutrients. MDPI. 2022, 14(5), 1038. eISSN 2072-6643. Available under: doi: 10.3390/nu14051038
Zusammenfassung

Background/Objective: Historically, fasting has been practiced not only for medical but also for religious reasons. Bahá’ís follow an annual religious intermittent dry fast of 19 days. We inquired into motivation behind and subjective health impacts of Bahá’í fasting. Methods: A convergent parallel mixed methods design was embedded in a clinical single arm observational study. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted before (n = 7), during (n = 8), and after fasting (n = 8). Three months after the fasting period, two focus group interviews were conducted (n = 5/n = 3). A total of 146 Bahá’í volunteers answered an online survey at five time points before, during, and after fasting. Results: Fasting was found to play a central role for the religiosity of interviewees, implying changes in daily structures, spending time alone, engaging in religious practices, and experiencing social belonging. Results show an increase in mindfulness and well-being, which were accompanied by behavioural changes and experiences of self-efficacy and inner freedom. Survey scores point to an increase in mindfulness and well-being during fasting, while stress, anxiety, and fatigue decreased. Mindfulness remained elevated even three months after the fast. Conclusion: Bahá’í fasting seems to enhance participants’ mindfulness and well-being, lowering stress levels and reducing fatigue. Some of these effects lasted more than three months after fasting.

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300 Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie
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intermittent food restriction; mindfulness; self-efficacy; well-being; mixed methods; health behaviour; coping ability; religiously motivated dry fasting
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ISO 690RING, Raphaela M., Clemens EISENMANN, Farid I. KANDIL, Nico STECKHAN, Sarah DEMMRICH, Caroline KLATTE, Christian S. KESSLER, Michael JEITLER, Andreas MICHALSEN, Daniela A. KOPPOLD-LIEBSCHER, 2022. Mental and Behavioural Responses to Bahá'í Fasting : Looking behind the Scenes of a Religiously Motivated Intermittent Fast Using a Mixed Methods Approach. In: Nutrients. MDPI. 2022, 14(5), 1038. eISSN 2072-6643. Available under: doi: 10.3390/nu14051038
BibTex
@article{Ring2022-02-28Menta-57276,
  year={2022},
  doi={10.3390/nu14051038},
  title={Mental and Behavioural Responses to Bahá'í Fasting : Looking behind the Scenes of a Religiously Motivated Intermittent Fast Using a Mixed Methods Approach},
  number={5},
  volume={14},
  journal={Nutrients},
  author={Ring, Raphaela M. and Eisenmann, Clemens and Kandil, Farid I. and Steckhan, Nico and Demmrich, Sarah and Klatte, Caroline and Kessler, Christian S. and Jeitler, Michael and Michalsen, Andreas and Koppold-Liebscher, Daniela A.},
  note={Article Number: 1038}
}
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