One study, by Anastasi and Newberg, was extremely relevant to my research interests because it dealt with the rosary and anxiety. They hypothesized that recitation of the ritualized rosary would lower anxiety compared to simply being exposed to a religious video. Although, their sample size was very small the results were promising and the rosary group reported decreased anxiety. I thought that it was important that they were interested in the ritual of the rosary having the effect on the test subjects rather than other variables I had read about elsewhere.
Anastasi, M. W., & Newberg, A. B. (2008). A preliminary study of the acute effects of religious ritual on anxiety. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14(2), 163-165.
I found the article by Doran and Downing Hansen (2006) “Constructions of Mexican American Family Grief After the Death of a Child: An Exploratory Study” to be very interesting as it a more relevant ethnographic overview of grieving practices than I had read anywhere else. Although the people in the study were Mexican-American and not the population I intend to study they do belong to the same religious group and therefore follow some of the same or similar religious customs when it comes to grieving. The article mostly covered how the families dealt with their grief including incorporating their faith, Catholicism, into the process. For many Mexican Americans this includes the novenario, a nine day period of mourning and prayer, similar to what I would like to study with the rosary service but not the same. The entire article reminded me the grieving process differs depending on religious and cultural context. The individual’s grieving experience may differ depending on how important they believe those things are in the grieving process.
I found the historical information in the article “Effect of rosary prayer and yoga mantras on autonomic cardiovascular rhythms: comparative study” as well as the information on rhythmic breathing to be helpful. Bernardi et al. (2001) described how recitation of the rosary (a repetitive Roman Catholic prayer) and yoga mantras slow respiration to a specific rhythm which can benefit heart rate and blood pressure. While, the effects of meditative practices such as yoga have been more widely studied repetitive and meditative prayer have not been studied as much. This paper was able to investigate a slight historical link between the two practices as well as a possible hypothesis for why both practices may be of physiological benefit to practitioners.
Bernardi, L., Sleight, P., Bandinelli, G., Cencetti, S., Fattorini, L., Wdowczyc-Szulc, J., & Lagi, A. (2001). Effect of rosary prayer and yoga mantras on autonomic cardiovascular rhythms: comparative study. Bmj, 323(7327), 1446-1449.