A linguistic investigation of mediators between religious commitment and health behaviors in older adolescents.Issues Compr Pediatr Nurs. 2007 Jul-Sep; 30(3):71-86.IC
Social scientists are beginning to take an interest in the role that religiosity plays in the development of health behaviors throughout adolescence. Although there is mounting evidence of a relationship between these constructs, how and why such relationships exist is not well understood. In this exploratory study of 28 racially diverse university students, we examined whether the relationship between religious commitment and health behaviors could be detected through written language. The results indicated that religious commitment and various indices of healthy lifestyle practices were strongly correlated, that healthy lifestyle practices were related to use of causal words (representing cognitive attempts at understanding causes and effects) and first person plural words (representing social connectedness). The results were consistent with a model in which participants' use of causal words partially or fully mediated the relations between religious commitment and healthy lifestyle practices. Implications of findings and directions for future research are discussed.