The relationship between religious beliefs and attitudes toward public health infection prevention measures among an ultra-Orthodox Jewish population during the COVID-19 pandemic

This article was originally published here

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Mar 4;19(5):2988. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19052988.

ABSTRACT

The ultra-Orthodox population in Israel has been heavily affected by COVID-19; it is important to understand the contributing factors. There may be friction between religious and government guidelines which may reduce adherence to COVID mitigation guidelines, such as social distancing and masking. The purpose of this study is to explore this tension and the extent to which it existed in the sample surveyed. The study identified the attitudes of ultra-Orthodox individuals regarding religious and public health measures to mitigate COVID-19 infection. A closed questionnaire was completed by 405 ultra-Orthodox Jews. Most respondents believe that religious learning protects against harm (91%); 74% believe that there are periodic inconsistencies between religious guidelines and medical guidelines; 59% believe that preventive medicine can conflict with “divine protection”. Some public health measures applied to contain the pandemic threaten the religious way of life; it is a source of dissonance among ultra-religious populations, which can significantly reduce the willingness to comply with public health measures.

PMID:35270681 | DOI:10.3390/ijerph19052988

Ruth R. Culp