Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 34, Issue 6, pp 477–488 | Cite as

Understanding the connection between spiritual well-being and physical health: an examination of ambulatory blood pressure, inflammation, blood lipids and fasting glucose

  • Julianne Holt-Lunstad
  • Patrick R. Steffen
  • Jonathan Sandberg
  • Bryan Jensen
Article

Abstract

Growing research has demonstrated a link between spiritual well-being and better health; however, little is known about possible physiological mechanisms. In a sample of highly religious healthy male and female adults (n = 100) ages 19–59 (m = 28.28) we examined the influence of spiritual well-being, as measured by the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual Well-Being (FACIT-Sp-Ex), on physiological risk factors for heart disease. Specifically we examined 24-h ambulatory blood pressure (BP), inflammation (hs-C-reactive protein), fasting glucose, and blood lipids. Regression analyses reveal that higher levels of spiritual-wellness (total FACIT-Sp-Ex score) was significantly related to lower systolic ambulatory BP (β = −.345; P < .001), diastolic ambulatory BP (β = −.24; P = .02), hs-C-reactive protein (β = −.23; P = .04), fasting glucose (β = −.28; P = .006), and marginally lower triglycerides (β = −.21; P = .09) and VLDL (β = −.21; P = .10) controlling for age, gender, and church attendance. Results remained generally consistent across the Meaning, Peace, Faith and Additional Spiritual Concerns subscales of the FACIT-Sp-Ex. Spiritual well-being may be cardio protective.

Keywords

Spiritual Religiosity Heart disease Blood pressure Fasting glucose Inflammation Cholesterol 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julianne Holt-Lunstad
    • 1
  • Patrick R. Steffen
    • 1
  • Jonathan Sandberg
    • 2
  • Bryan Jensen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Marriage & Family TherapyBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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