Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 1503–1519 | Cite as

Benevolent Images of God, Gratitude, and Physical Health Status

  • Neal KrauseEmail author
  • Robert A. Emmons
  • Gail Ironson
Original Paper


This study has two goals. The first is to assess whether a benevolent image of God is associated with better physical health. The second goal is to examine the aspects of congregational life that is associated with a benevolent image of God. Data from a new nationwide survey (N = 1774) are used to test the following core hypotheses: (1) people who attend worship services more often and individuals who receive more spiritual support from fellow church members (i.e., informal assistance that is intended to increase the religious beliefs and behaviors of the recipient) will have more benevolent images of God, (2) individuals who believe that God is benevolent will feel more grateful to God, (3) study participants who are more grateful to God will be more hopeful about the future, and (4) greater hope will be associated with better health. The data provide support for each of these relationships.


God images Health Gratitude 



This research was supported by a Grant from the John Tempelton Foundation (Grant 40077).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.University of California – DavisDavisUSA
  3. 3.University of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

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