Spirituality and health: their associations and measurement problems

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    Most studies report a positive association of religiosity and spirituality (R/S) with aspects of health. However, a smaller proportion reports mixed or negative associations. Therefore, the aim of this thesis was to assess the associations of R/S with different areas of health, focusing on the behavioural and psychological pathways, to explore possible sources of discrepant findings on R/S and health, and to present a new approach of R/S assessment. We used two nationally representative samples of Czechs (adolescent and adult) and one online adult sample.
    We found that R/S was associated with a more active leisure time choices and a decreased risk behaviour. However, for cannabis and drugs use only the combination of both R and S was protective. Moreover, certain negative R/S experiences and attitudes, e.g. a perceived distance of God, were associated with a more adverse effect on mental health, especially when they followed a religious conversion. We also learned that the sociocultural context, type of R/S and especially measurement problems could contribute to the heterogeneity of the findings on the associations of R/S with health.
    This thesis supports the findings of other authors on the pathways of associations of R/S with health and offers additional insights into these mechanisms. It also offers a new approach for measuring implicit attitudes in the area of R/S, based on using emotions from a display of faces as response categories. Using this approach could help to decrease the effect of bias due to social desirability in survey studies on attitudes.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Reijneveld, Menno, Supervisor
    • Tavel, Peter, Supervisor
    • van Dijk, Jitze, Co-supervisor
    Award date12-Jun-2019
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Print ISBNs978-94-034-1706-6
    Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-1705-9
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

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