Assessing the Relationship Between Religious Involvement and Health Behaviors

Neal Krause, Peter C. Hill, Robert Emmons, Kenneth I. Pargament, Gail Ironson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-284
Number of pages7
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • God-mediated control
  • health behavior
  • sacred body view

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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