Religious beliefs and behaviors are multidimensional and they profoundly determine the ways we respond to health and illness, suffering and death. Researchers have designed numerous scales to measure different dimensions of religious commitment, beliefs and behaviors. A thorough review of the literature has shown general relationships between religion and health, but no researcher has developed an instrument measuring dimensions of religious commitment specifically relevant to health behaviors.
In this study, scale items were developed to measure three dimensions of religious beliefs thought by Kenneth Vaux (1976) to be related to health behavior--purity of life, peace in existence, and belief in immortality. We developed an instrument to measure these together with dimensions of religious commitment suggested by M. B. King and R. A. Hunt (1975) In a sample of 601 Black church members from three different denominations--Baptists, Roman Catholics, and Seventh-day Adventists--correlations of these scales with health behaviors, stress, perceived health status, and health locus of control were tested.
The study findings suggested that there were significant correlations of religious beliefs and practices with health behaviors. However, for many variables, the pattern of correlations differed from one religious group to another. There were also differences among the groups on religious beliefs and health behaviors.
The study showed that the nature of relationships between religious beliefs and health practices were complex, and studies which treat religious beliefs and health behaviors as unitary constructs may not be doing justice to either.
The study yielded an instrument useful for further investigations into the specific factors in the religion-health relationship.
School of Public Health
Jerry W. Lee
Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Health; Religion and Medicine; Blacks -- statistics & numerical data
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
King, Donald George, "Religious Commitment as a Predictor of Health Behavior and Health Status in a Selected Population" (1989). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 1475.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives