Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 56, Issue 6, pp 2109–2117 | Cite as

The Relationship between Religious Coping and Self-Care Behaviors in Iranian Medical Students

  • Hamid Sharif Nia
  • Saeed Pahlevan Sharif
  • Amir Hossein GoudarzianEmail author
  • Kelly A. Allen
  • Saman Jamali
  • Mohammad Ali Heydari Gorji
Original Paper


In recent years, researchers have identified that coping strategies are an important contributor to an individual’s life satisfaction and ability to manage stress. The positive relationship between religious copings, specifically, with physical and mental health has also been identified in some studies. Spirituality and religion have been discussed rigorously in research, but very few studies exist on religious coping. The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between religious coping methods (i.e., positive and negative religious coping) and self-care behaviors in Iranian medical students. This study used a cross-sectional design of 335 randomly selected students from Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Iran. A data collection tool comprised of the standard questionnaire of religious coping methods and questionnaire of self-care behaviors assessment was utilized. Data were analyzed using a two-sample t test assuming equal variances. Adjusted linear regression was used to evaluate the independent association of religious copings with self-care. Adjusted linear regression model indicated an independent significant association between positive (b = 4.616, 95% CI 4.234–4.999) and negative (b = −3.726, 95% CI −4.311 to −3.141) religious coping with self-care behaviors. Findings showed a linear relationship between religious coping and self-care behaviors. Further research with larger sample sizes in diverse populations is recommended.


Religious coping Health improvement Self-care Medical students Iran 



Authors would like to express their gratitude for the cooperation of all students. This study is result of Research Project No. 44. The project was approved by Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences’ ethics committee, Sari, Iran.


The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author(s) declared no potential conflict of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


  1. Akbar Jesarati, A. H., Mohammadi, I., Jesarati, A., & Moshiri, R. (2013). The relationship between religious attitude, social relationship with happiness of college students. International Journal of Sciences: Basic and Applied Research, 6(10), 1451–1457.Google Scholar
  2. Al-Makhaita, H. M., Ahmed Sabra, A., & Hafez, A. (2014). Job performance among nurses working in two different health care levels, Eastern Saudi Arabia: A comparative study. International Journal of Medical Science and Public Health, 3(7), 832–837.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bagheri Nesami, M., Goudarzian, A., Ardeshiri, M., & Babaie Holari, M. (2015). Self-care behavior and its related factors in the community-dwelling elderlies in Sari. Journal of Clinical Nursing and Midwifery, 4(4), 48–56.Google Scholar
  4. de Jager Meezenbroek, E., Garssen, B., Van den Berg, M., Tuytel, G., Van Dierendonck, D., Visser, A., et al. (2012). Measuring spirituality as a universal human experience: Development of the spiritual attitude and involvement list (SAIL). Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, 30(2), 141–167.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Dein, S., Cook, C. C., Powell, A., & Eagger, S. (2010). Religion, spirituality and mental health. The Psychiatrist, 34(2), 63–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dierendonck, D. (2011). Spirituality as an essential determinant for the good life, its importance relative to self-determinant psychological needs. Journal of Happiness Studies, 13(4), 685–700.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Duckworth, A. L., Steen, T. A., & Seligman, M. E. (2005). Positive psychology in clinical practice. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 1, 629–651.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Education MoHaM. Health Education & Promotion Dept.
  9. Filipe, R., & Yanagizawa-Drott, D. (2015). Does religion affect economic growth and happiness? Evidence from Ramadan. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 130(2), 615–658.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Folkman, S. (2010). Stress, coping, and hope. Psycho-oncology, 19(9), 901–908.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Ghasemi, M., & Rezaee, N. M. (2012). Investigating the relationship between the praying and back pain in commercial drivers. Quran and Medicine, 1(4), 95–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gohar, F., Greenfield, S. M., Beevers, D. G., Lip, G. Y., & Jolly, K. (2008). Self-care and adherence to medication: A survey in the hypertension outpatient clinic. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 8, 4.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  13. Guimarães, H. P., & Avezum, A. (2007). O impacto da espiritualidade na saúde física. Revista de Psiquiatria Clinica, 34(1), 88–94.Google Scholar
  14. Haque, A. (2004). Religion and mental health: The case of American muslims. Journal of Religion and Health, 43(1), 45–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Harold, G., Koenig, M. E. M., & Larson, D. B. (2001). Handbook of religion and health: A century of research revised. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Holt, C. L., Wang, M. Q., Clark, E. M., Williams, B. R., & Schulz, E. (2013). Religious involvement and physical and emotional functioning among African Americans: The mediating role of religious support. Psychology & Health, 28(3), 267–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hsiao, Y.-C., Chien, L.-Y., Wu, L.-Y., Chiang, C.-M., & Huang, S.-Y. (2010). Spiritual health, clinical practice stress, depressive tendency and health-promoting behaviours among nursing students. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 66(7), 1612–1622.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Hui, C. H., Chan, S. W. Y., Lau, E. Y. Y., Cheung, S.-F., & Mok, D. S. Y. (2014). The role of religion in moderating the impact of life events on material life goals: Some evidence in support of terror management theory. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 17(1), 52–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jordao, L. M., Saraiva, L. M., Sheiham, A., & Freire, M. C. (2014). Relationship between rates of attending religious services and oral health in Brazilian adolescents. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, 42(5), 420–427.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Kazemi, M. S. (2010). The relationship between religious coping strategies and mental health in MS patient. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 5, 1387–1389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. King, M., Marston, L., McManus, S., Brugha, T., Meltzer, H., & Bebbington, P. (2013). Religion, spirituality and mental health: Results from a national study of English households. The British Journal of Psychiatry: The Journal of Mental Science, 202(1), 68–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Koenig, H. G., Zaben, F. A., & Khalifa, D. A. (2012). Religion, spirituality and mental health in the West and the Middle East. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 5(2), 180–182.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Lewis, C. A., Maltby, J., & Day, L. (2005). Religious orientation, religious coping and happiness among UK adults. Personality and Individual Differences, 38(5), 1193–1202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Maciejewski, P. K., Phelps, A. C., Kacel, E. L., Balboni, T. A., Balboni, M., Wright, A. A., et al. (2012). Religious coping and behavioral disengagement: Opposing influences on advance care planning and receipt of intensive care near death. Psycho-oncology, 21(7), 714–723.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Momeni, K., Karami, J., & Rad, A. S. (2013). The relationship between spirituality, resiliency and coping strategies with students’ psychological well-being in Razi University of Kermanshah. Journal of Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, 16(8), 9. (in persian).Google Scholar
  26. Nesami, M. B., Goudarzian, A. H., Zarei, H., Esameili, P., Pour, M. D., & Mirani, H. (2015). The relationship between emotional intelligence with religious coping and general health of students. Materia Sociomedica, 27(6), 412–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Nilvarangkul, K., Wongprom, J., Tumnong, C., Supornpun, A., Surit, P., & Srithongchai, N. (2006). Strengthening the self-care of women working in the informal sector: Local fabric weaving in Khon Kaen, Thailand (Phase I). Industrial Health, 44(1), 101–107.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. O’Connor, P. J., Pronk, N. P., Tan, A., & Whitebird, R. R. (2005). Characteristics of adults who use prayer as an alternative therapy. American Journal of Health Promotion: AJHP, 19(5), 369–375.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Olson, M. M., Trevino, D. B., Geske, J. A., & Vanderpool, H. (2012). Religious coping and mental health outcomes: An exploratory study of socioeconomically disadvantaged patients. Explore (New York, NY), 8(3), 172–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Peng, H., & Huang, T. C. (2014). An examination of college students’ state anxiety to trait anxiety, problem solving status and spirituality. International Journal of Academic Research and Reflection, 2(4), 64–80.Google Scholar
  31. Pirutinsky, S., Rosmarin, D. H., Pargament, K. I., & Midlarsky, E. (2011). Does negative religious coping accompany, precede, or follow depression among Orthodox Jews? Journal of Affective Disorders, 132(3), 401–405.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Puchalski, C. M. (2001). The role of spirituality in health care. Proceedings (Baylor University Medical Center), 14(4), 352–357.Google Scholar
  33. Rahim, M. A. R. A. (2013). The effect of life satisfaction and religiosity on happiness among post graduates in Malaysia. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 11(1), 34–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rahnama, P., Javidan, A. N., Saberi, H., Montazeri, A., Tavakkoli, S., Pakpour, A. H., et al. (2015). Does religious coping and spirituality have a moderating role on depression and anxiety in patients with spinal cord injury? A study from Iran. Spinal Cord, 53(12), 870–874.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Rasic, D. T., Belik, S. L., Elias, B., Katz, L. Y., Enns, M., & Sareen, J. (2009). Spirituality, religion and suicidal behavior in a nationally representative sample. Journal of Affective Disorders, 114(1–3), 32–40.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Tebes, J. K., Kaufman, J. S., Connell, C. M., Crusto, C. A., & Thai, N. D. (2014). Evaluation in primary prevention and health promotion. In T. P. Gullotta & M. Bloom (Eds.), Encyclopedia of primary prevention and health promotion (pp. 69–101). Boston, MA: Springer.Google Scholar
  37. Thomas, P., Carpenter, T. L., & Mezulis, A. (2012). Religious coping, stress, and depressive symptoms among adolescents: A prospective study. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 4(1), 19–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Trevino, K. M., Pargament, K. I., Cotton, S., Leonard, A. C., Hahn, J., Caprini-Faigin, C. A., et al. (2010). Religious coping and physiological, psychological, social, and spiritual outcomes in patients with HIV/AIDS: Cross-sectional and longitudinal findings. AIDS and Behavior, 14(2), 379–389.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. White, R. O., Eden, S., Wallston, K. A., Kripalani, S., Barto, S., Shintani, A., et al. (2015). Health communication, self-care, and treatment satisfaction among low-income diabetes patients in a public health setting. Patient Education and Counseling, 98(2), 144–149.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Winston, C. R. (2014). Assessing the influence of religious involvement on health behaviors among gender and racial/ethnic groups. Wayne State University Dissertations.Google Scholar
  41. Yeom, H. A. (2004). Self-care in elders with dementia: A concept analysis. Taehan Kanho Hakhoe chi, 34(8), 1402–1408.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hamid Sharif Nia
    • 1
  • Saeed Pahlevan Sharif
    • 2
  • Amir Hossein Goudarzian
    • 3
    Email author
  • Kelly A. Allen
    • 4
  • Saman Jamali
    • 3
  • Mohammad Ali Heydari Gorji
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Nursing and Midwifery AmolMazandaran University of Medical SciencesSariIran
  2. 2.Taylor’s Business SchoolTaylor’s University MalaysiaSubang JayaMalaysia
  3. 3.Student Research CommitteeMazandaran University of Medical SciencesSariIran
  4. 4.The Melbourne Graduate School of EducationThe University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  5. 5.School of Nursing and Midwifery of SariMazandaran University of Medical SciencesSariIran

Personalised recommendations