Role of religious social support in longitudinal relationships between religiosity and health-related outcomes in African Americans

Cheryl L. Holt, David L. Roth, Jin Huang, Eddie M. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study tested a longitudinal model of religious social support as a potential mediator of the relationship between religious beliefs and behaviors, and multiple health-related outcomes (e.g., depressive symptoms, functioning, diet, alcohol use, cancer screening). A national probability sample of African Americans enrolled in the religion and health in African Americans study completed three waves of telephone interviews over a 5-year period (N = 766). Longitudinal structural equation models indicated that religious behaviors, but not beliefs, predicted the slowing of a modest overall decline in positive religious social support, while negative interactions with congregational members were stable. Positive religious support was associated with lower depressive symptoms and heavy drinking over time, while negative interaction predicted increases in depressive symptoms and decreases in emotional functioning. Positive religious support mediated the relationship between religious behaviors and depressive symptoms and heavy drinking. Findings have implications for mental health interventions in faith-based settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-73
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Volume41
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Keywords

  • African American
  • Depression
  • Health behaviors
  • Longitudinal
  • Religion
  • Religious social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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