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Assessing the Relationship Between Religious Involvement and Health Behaviors

Publication Abstract

Krause, Neal, Peter C. Hill, Robert Emmons, Kenneth I. Pargament, and Gail Ironson. 2017. "Assessing the Relationship Between Religious Involvement and Health Behaviors." Health Education & Behavior, 44(2): 278-284.

A growing body of research suggests that people who are more deeply involved in religion may be more likely to adopt beneficial health behaviors. However, religion is a complex phenomenon, and as a result, religion may affect health behaviors in a number of ways. The purpose of the current study was to see whether a sacred view of the body (i.e., belief that the body is the temple of God) is associated with better health behavior. It was proposed that the relationship between a sacred body view and health behavior will emerge only among study participants who have a stronger sense of religiously oriented control (i.e., stronger God-mediated control beliefs). Five positive health behaviors were evaluated: more frequent strenuous exercise, more frequent moderate exercise, more frequent consumption of fruits and vegetables, higher quality sleep, and the adoption of healthy lifestyles. Data from a recent nationwide sample reveal that a sacred body view is associated with each health behavior, but only among study participants who have a strong religiously oriented sense of control.

DOI:10.1177/1090198116655314 (Full Text)

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