Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States and have significant behavioral origins. African Americans suffer a disproportionate burden of chronic disease relative to other US racial/ethnic groups. Previous research supports an association between both general and religious social support and health behaviors that impact the risk of chronic disease. The present study examined the relative contributions of these constructs to a variety of health behaviors in a national probability sample of African American men and women (N = 2,370). A telephone interview assessing fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and current cigarette use was completed by participants. Results showed that several dimensions of religious social support predicted fruit and vegetable consumption, moderate physical activity, and alcohol use over and above the role of general social support. Findings highlight the unique role of religious support in this population in the context of health behaviors. Implications for health promotion interventions are discussed.
- Religious support Social support Health behavior African American
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health