Private religion/spirituality, self-rated health, and mental health among US South Asians

Blake Victor Kent, Samuel Stroope*, Alka M. Kanaya, Ying Zhang, Namratha R. Kandula, Alexandra E. Shields

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: Connections between private religion/spirituality and health have not been assessed among US South Asians. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between private religion/spirituality and self-rated and mental health in a community-based sample of US South Asians. Methods: Data from the Mediators of atherosclerosis in South Asians living in America (MASALA) study (collected 2010–2013 and 2015–2018) and the attendant study on stress, spirituality, and health (n = 881) were analyzed using OLS regression. Self-rated health measured overall self-assessed health. Emotional functioning was measured using the mental health inventory-3 index (MHI-3) and Spielberger scales assessed trait anxiety and trait anger. Private religion/spirituality variables included prayer, yoga, belief in God, gratitude, theistic and non-theistic spiritual experiences, closeness to God, positive and negative religious coping, divine hope, and religious/spiritual struggles. Results: Yoga, gratitude, non-theistic spiritual experiences, closeness to God, and positive coping were positively associated with self-rated health. Gratitude, non-theistic and theistic spiritual experiences, closeness to God, and positive coping were associated with better emotional functioning; negative coping was associated with poor emotional functioning. Gratitude and non-theistic spiritual experiences were associated with less anxiety; negative coping and religious/spiritual struggles were associated with greater anxiety. Non-theistic spiritual experiences and gratitude were associated with less anger; negative coping and religious/spiritual struggles were associated with greater anger. Conclusion: Private religion/spirituality is associated with self-rated and mental health. Opportunities may exist for public health and religious care professionals to leverage existing religion/spirituality for well-being among US South Asians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-504
Number of pages10
JournalQuality of Life Research
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

Keywords

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Immigrants
  • Mental health
  • Religion
  • Self-rated health
  • Spirituality
  • US South Asians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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