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Psycholog Relig Spiritual. 2012 Nov 1;4(4):298-311. Epub 2012 Mar 5.

Religious Engagement in a Risky Family Model Predicting Health in Older Black and White Seventh-day Adventists.

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1
Departments of Family Medicine and Psychology, Loma Linda University.

Abstract

In a structural equation model, associations among latent variables - Child Poverty, Risky Family exposure, Religious Engagement, Negative Social Interactions, Negative Emotionality, and Perceived Physical Health - were evaluated in 6,753 Black and White adults aged 35-106 years (M = 60.5, SD = 13.0). All participants were members of the Seventh-day Adventist church surveyed in the Biopsychosocial Religion and Health Study (BRHS). Child Poverty was positively associated with both Risky Family exposure (conflict, neglect, abuse) and Religious Engagement (intrinsic religiosity, religious coping, religiousness). Risky Family was negatively associated with Religious Engagement and positively associated with both Negative Social Interactions (intrusive, failed to help, insensitive, rejecting) and Negative Emotionality (depression, negative affect, neuroticism). Religious Engagement was negatively associated with Negative Emotionality and Negative Social Interactions at a given level of risky family. Negative Social Interactions was positively associated with Negative Emotionality, which had a direct, negative effect on Perceived Physical Health. All constructs had indirect effects on Perceived Physical Health through Negative Emotionality. The effects of a risky family environment appear to be enduring, negatively affecting one's adult religious life, emotionality, social interactions, and perceived health. Religious engagement, however, may counteract the damaging effects of early life stress.

KEYWORDS:

emotionality; physical health; religious engagement; risky family

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