Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Alyssa Cheadle, Psychology, Dr. Andrew Gall, Psychology

Document Type


Event Date



Religiousness and spirituality are associated beneficially with health. Mechanisms of these associations have not been established, but health behaviors may explain associations. We are interested in whether there is an association between religious and spiritual (R/S) behaviors and health behaviors in undergraduates. Daily exercise and diet were assessed and associations with R/S traits and behaviors were tested. Increasingly, daily diary methods are employed in health research because they decrease retrospective reporting and increase validity. However, these methods have not been used in research on R/S. We are conducting a daily diary study via online survey. Participants were recruited from Hope College. During an initial lab visit, participants took a survey on baseline and trait R/S and overall health and were trained on how to complete daily diary surveys which they did for the following seven mornings. These surveys assessed participants’ daily religious, spiritual, and health behaviors and experiences. We will analyze data using correlational analyses and regression to determine whether and how R/S traits and daily behaviors are associated with healthy daily exercise and diet behaviors. We expect that greater trait R/S will be associated with healthier daily exercise and diet. We also expect that engaging in more daily R/S behaviors will be associated with healthier daily exercise and diet. First, our study suggests that using daily diary methods to study R/S is feasible. Second, if trait R/S are associated with better health behaviors, that would suggest that health behaviors could be a mechanism of observed associations of R/S with health. Third, if R/S behaviors are associated with healthy diet and exercise, this may further explain associations of R/S with health. Last, these findings could help in understanding and promoting healthy diet and exercise on college campuses.