The belief that one’s religious behavior can influence health, either by formal offerings to religious shamans or the uttering of a prayer to an unseen deity, likely predates recorded history and finds its most basic beliefs expressed in Exodus 15:26, “I will put none of the diseases upon you which I put upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord, your healer.” Findings and observations published in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s that some of the membership among the more conservative denominations with strict proscriptions regarding health behavior experience lower rates of cancer and heart disease supported this belief, as does a large volume of subsequent research. As interest in this area of health has increased over the past three decades, occasionally, some findings have been reported in a manner that implied the content of our religiousness, be it conservative or liberal, Christian or non-Christian, and/or how we express that belief. liberal, conservative, or ultra-conservative, may be a factor in the extent of religion’s benefit to health.
This study examined the effectiveness of the Religious Motivation Scale (RMS) in predicting health related behaviors. This study supports the effectiveness of the RMS in predicting pro-health behaviors by finding moderate and weak significance in the correlations between Revised - Intrinsic Religiosity and decreased smoking, reduced consumption of alcohol, lower reported depression, and decreased reported incidence of back pain. Restrictions of range observed in this college student population included less than normally distributed reporting of tobacco consumption, and levels of depression. Additional limitations were found in the infrequent reporting of health complaints including hypertension, neck and back pain, and facial/headache pain. The statistical trends found in this study suggest that the observed relationships would have likely been stronger in a larger more widely representative population. Questions were raised in this study regarding the influence cultural and economic factors may have exerted on the expression of religiosity in health related behaviors within this population.
Matt L. Riggs
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Religion; Health Behavior -- psychology; Religion and Psychology.
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.
Davis, John Austin, "Assessment of Religious Motivation and its Effects on Health Related Behaviors" (2000). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 606.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives