Self-Rated Religiosity/Spirituality and Four Health Outcomes Among US South Asians: Findings From the Study on Stress, Spirituality, and Health

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2020 Feb;208(2):165-168. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000001128.


Almost no research exists on the relationship between religiosity/spirituality (R/S) and health in the US South Asian population. Using data from the joint Study on Stress, Spirituality, and Health and Mediators of Atherosclerosis Among South Asians Living in America Study (MASALA), this article examined associations between self-rated R/S and self-rated health, emotional functioning, trait anxiety, and trait anger in a community-based sample (n = 933) from the Chicago and San Francisco Bay areas. Ordinary least squares regression was used to analyze categorical differences in levels of R/S and ordinal trends for R/S, adjusting for potential confounders. Being slightly or moderately religious/spiritual was associated with lower levels of self-rated health compared with being very religious/spiritual, and being slightly or moderately religious/spiritual was associated with higher levels of anxiety. In both cases, there was no significant difference between very religious/spiritual individuals and non-religious/spiritual individuals, suggesting a curvilinear relationship. Self-rated R/S was not significantly associated with emotional functioning or anger. In sum, high-R/S and low-R/S individuals had salutary associations with self-rated health and anxiety compared with individuals with slight/moderate levels of R/S. It is important for clinicians and policy makers to recognize the role R/S can play in the health status of South Asians living in the United States.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asia, Western / ethnology
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Report
  • Spirituality*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • United States