Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Psychology



First Advisor

Karen A. Christoff

Second Advisor

Stephanie E. Miller

Third Advisor

Michael Allen

Relational Format



While research has demonstrated the relationship of religion to health risk and health promoting behaviors, it has not investigated the relationship between religious coping and health risk and health promoting behaviors. In addition, while the link between loneliness and certain health risk and health promoting behaviors has been established, little research has looked at the potential effect that religion has on the relationship between loneliness, health risk, and health promoting behaviors. As such, it was the purpose of this study to investigate the relationship between religious coping and health risk and health promoting behaviors and to investigate the role of religion in the relationship between loneliness and health risk and health promoting behaviors. This study examined the survey responses of 138 undergraduate students and found that while loneliness was a significant predictor of health promoting behavior, suicide behavior, and lack of exercise behavior in males, loneliness was not a significant predictor of overall health risk behavior. As hypothesized, strength of religious faith significantly predicted health promoting behavior and was associated with less engagement in health risk behavior. However, positive and negative religious coping were not predictive of health risk behavior, but positive religious coping did predict engagement in health promoting behavior. Interestingly, negative religious coping was associated with more loneliness. No significant differences in health risk behavior were found between lonely individuals who were high in faith vs. low in faith or between lonely individuals who used various types of religious coping. Results should be interpreted with caution as power was limited due to small sample sizes.


Emphasis: Clinical Psychology



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