The Religion–Health Connection Among African Americans: What Is the Role of Social Capital?
Version of Record online: 21 FEB 2014
Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology
Volume 25, Issue 1, pages 1–18, January/February 2015
How to Cite
2014), The Religion–Health Connection Among African Americans: What Is the Role of Social Capital?, J. Community Appl. Soc. Psychol., 25, 1–18, doi: 10.1002/casp.2191, , , , and (
- Issue online: 6 JAN 2015
- Version of Record online: 21 FEB 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 23 JAN 2014
- Manuscript Revised: 20 JAN 2014
- Manuscript Received: 22 JUL 2013
- social capital;
- African Americans;
Researchers have expressed growing interest in factors that may explain the relationship between religious involvement and health-related outcomes. Faith-based organizations are a significant institution in African American communities, both serving religious/spiritual needs and providing an important source of social capital. These communities often suffer a disproportionate burden of health conditions as well. The present study examined the role of social capital (social support, interconnectedness, and community participation) in the relationship between religious involvement (beliefs and behaviours) and physical and emotional functioning and depressive symptoms, among a national probability sample of African Americans (N = 803). Participants completed telephone interviews. We used structural equation modelling to test hypotheses based on the theoretical model. Results indicate that interconnectedness played a modest mediational role in the relationship between religious behaviours/participation and depressive symptoms. Interconnectedness was predictive of fewer depressive symptoms and marginally with better emotional functioning. Findings highlight the importance of trust in and commitment to one's community for health and have implications for community-based health promotion initiatives. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.