Both Intrinsic and Extrinsic Religious Orientation are Positively Associated with Attitudes Toward Cleanliness: Exploring Multiple Routes from Godliness to Cleanliness

  • Leib Litman
  • Jonathan Robinson
  • Sarah L. Weinberger-Litman
  • Ron Finkelstein
Original Paper


In the present study, we explore how intrinsic and extrinsic religious orientations are associated with cleanliness attitudes. We find that reported importance of religion is associated with increased cleanliness concerns and interest in cleanliness. Attitudes toward cleanliness were also associated with both intrinsic religious orientation and extrinsic religious orientation. Together, religiosity and religious orientation account for 14.7% of cleanliness attitudes and remained significant in the presence of personality, socioeconomic status, age, education, obsessive–compulsive attitudes toward cleanliness, and other covariates. These results show that religiosity is associated with cleanliness via multiple routes. We suggest that intrinsic religious orientation leads to increased interest in cleanliness due to the link between physical and spiritual purity. Extrinsic religious orientation may be linked with cleanliness because of the secondary benefits, including health and the facilitation in communal cohesiveness, that cleanliness rituals offer. The implications of these findings for the relationship between religion and health are discussed.


Religiosity Intrinsic religions orientation Extrinsic religious orientation Cleanliness Public health 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leib Litman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jonathan Robinson
    • 2
    • 3
  • Sarah L. Weinberger-Litman
    • 4
  • Ron Finkelstein
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyLander CollegeFlushingUSA
  2. 2.Touro College and University System HealthNew York Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Computer ScienceLander CollegeNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychology, Marymount Manhattan CollegeNew YorkUSA

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