Surrender to God and Stress: A Possible Link Between Religiosity and Health

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An abundance of evidence supports that stress predicts poor health, and religiosity, broadly defined, typically predicts good health. It is possible that one mechanism by which religiosity positively impacts health is through reduction in or prevention of the stress response, and that Surrender (Surrender to God) is a measure that captures aspects of religiosity that would predict lowered stress levels. In the present investigation, two samples were studied in order to investigate the relationship between one characterization of religiosity (Surrender) and stress. Participants in Study 1 were 460 (306 female) Southern Appalachian undergraduate university students who completed the Surrender Scale (Wong-McDonald & Gorsuch, 2000) and the State–Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI, Spielberger, 1983) online during spring 2009. Study 2 utilized a high-risk (low income and/or high pregnancy risk) sample of 230 pregnant women involved in a longitudinal study who completed the Surrender Scale and the Prenatal Psychosocial Profile (PPP, Curry, Campbell, & Christian, 1994), which contains an 11-item stress measure, during their first research contact early in pregnancy. Hierarchical regression analysis revealed that Surrender was consistently inversely related to stress on both the STAI and the PPP. These findings contribute to the current understanding of the religiosity–health association in two ways. First, they offer support for Surrender and its associated lower stress levels to be explored as a mechanism by which religiosity influences health. Second, findings support the exploration of the potential for stress reduction through increasing Surrender in reportedly religious individuals. (APA PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)