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Religion and Health in African Americans: The Role of Religious Coping

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Objectives: To test a model of the religion-health connection to determine whether religious coping plays a mediating role in health behaviors in a national sample of African Americans. Methods: Participants completed a telephone survey (N = 2370) assessing religious involvement, religious coping, health behaviors, and demographics. Results: Religious beliefs were associated with greater vegetable consumption, which may be due to the role of positive and negative religious coping. Negative religious coping played a role in the relationship between religious beliefs and alcohol consumption. There was no evidence of mediation for fruit consumption, alcohol use in the past 30 days, or smoking. Conclusions: Findings have implications for theory and health promotion activities for African Americans.


Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Maryland, School of Public Health, Department of Behavioral and Community Health, College Park, MD, USA. 2: Saint Louis University, Department of Psychology, Saint Louis, MO, USA 3: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Mental Health, Baltimore, MD, USA 4: Johns Hopkins University, Center on Aging and Health, Baltimore, MD, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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