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OBJECTIVE: Many studies have documented significant associations between religion and spirituality (R/S) and health, but relatively few prospective analyses exist that can support causal inferences. To date, there has been no systematic analysis of R/S survey items collected in US cohort studies. We conducted a systematic content analysis of all surveys ever fielded in 20 diverse US cohort studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to identify all R/S-related items collected from each cohort's baseline survey through 2014.

DESIGN: An R|S Ontology was developed from our systematic content analysis to categorise all R/S survey items identified into key conceptual categories. A systematic literature review was completed for each R/S item to identify any cohort publications involving these items through 2018.

RESULTS: Our content analysis identified 319 R/S survey items, reflecting 213 unique R/S constructs and 50 R|S Ontology categories. 193 of the 319 extant R/S survey items had been analysed in at least one published paper. Using these data, we created the R|S Atlas (, a publicly available, online relational database that allows investigators to identify R/S survey items that have been collected by US cohorts, and to further refine searches by other key data available in cohorts that may be necessary for a given study (eg, race/ethnicity, availability of DNA or geocoded data).

CONCLUSIONS: R|S Atlas not only allows researchers to identify available sources of R/S data in cohort studies but will also assist in identifying novel research questions that have yet to be explored within the context of US cohort studies.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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BMJ Open








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