Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 498–512 | Cite as

Is Religious Coping Associated with Cumulative Health Risk? An Examination of Religious Coping Styles and Health Behavior Patterns in Alzheimer’s Dementia Caregivers

  • Yaron G. Rabinowitz
  • Mark G. Hartlaub
  • Ericka C. Saenz
  • Larry W. Thompson
  • Dolores Gallagher-Thompson
Original paper


The current study explored the relationship between religious coping and cumulative health risk associated with health behavior patterns in a sample of 256 Latina and Caucasian female caregivers of elderly relatives with dementia. Primary analyses examined the relationship between religious coping (both positive and negative) and an overall index of cumulative health risk. Secondary analyses were conducted on the individual health behaviors subsumed in the broader index. Findings revealed that negative religious coping was significantly associated with increased cumulative health risk. Positive religious coping was predictive of decreased cumulative health risk among Latina caregivers but not among Caucasians. Negative religious coping was significantly associated with both an increased likelihood for weight gain and increased dietary restriction. Positive religious coping was associated with decreased likelihood for weight gain in Latinas. Implications for both caregivers and clinicians are discussed.


Religious coping Health behaviors Caregivers 



Primary support for this research was provided by awards AG13289 by the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Additional support was provided by award AG23989 from the NIA.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yaron G. Rabinowitz
    • 1
  • Mark G. Hartlaub
    • 1
  • Ericka C. Saenz
    • 1
  • Larry W. Thompson
    • 2
  • Dolores Gallagher-Thompson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTexas A&M UniversityCorpus ChristiUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

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