Date of Award

5-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Debora Baldwin

Committee Members

Michael Olson, Ben Allen

Abstract

In the current study, I examined the association of religiosity on the psychological and physiological health of individuals. I administered a survey to determine the religious levels of the participants along with two surveys that inquired about self-esteem and life satisfaction. Two physiological measures were utilized to aid the findings of the self-report measures. These included heart rate variability and salivary cortisol. Heart rate variability measures included heart rate mean, high frequency power and standard deviation normal to normal (SDNN). My primary hypothesis was that higher religiosity levels would positively impact self-esteem, life satisfaction, heart rate variability and cortisol levels. Results revealed no significance between religiosity and heart rate mean. We found no correlation between religiosity and standard deviation normal-to-normal. We found a negative significant correlation between religiosity and high frequency. With regard to salivary cortisol, analysis did not find any significance between religiosity and cortisol levels. Analysis revealed no significance between religiosity and self-esteem or life satisfaction. A positive significant correlation was found between higher self-esteem and higher life satisfaction. I also hypothesized that religious males would report higher scores on the self-report measures and that they would report healthier physiological results, compared to religious females. No significance was found concerning most measure when a T-test analysis and regression analysis was used to compare gender. Males did reveal higher satisfaction with life than females. To summarize, this study did not support our hypotheses on almost every measure, but did show males report better life satisfaction than females.

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