RELIGIOSITY AND THE PREVENTIVE HEALTH BEHAVIOUR OF YOUNG ADULTS by ProQuest

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									    RELIGIOSITY AND THE PREVENTIVE HEALTH BEHAVIOUR
                     OF YOUNG ADULTS

                                   Egbe E. Idehen Ph.D*
                                             &
                                   Ojewumi A. Kehinde†
                                  Department of Psychology
                              Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife



               The role of religiosity in preventive health behaviour
               has received relatively little systematic research
               attention. Even so, extant literature suggests that
               religion may play complex and varied roles in
               enhancing people‗s health. However, the evidence
               has been both diverse and fragmentary One
               hundred and sixty unmarried undergraduates aged
               18-29 years filled in a religiosity scale and a health
               behaviour questionnaire. The health behaviour
               questionnaire assessed medical and dental check-
               up, dietary avoidance, physical exercise, cigarette
               and alcohol behaviour, physical self-examination
               and sexual behaviour.
                       The results indicated a positive relationship
               between the degree of religiousness and health
               enhancing behaviours, and negative relationships
               between religiosity and health compromising
               behaviours. The strongest relationships are between
               medical check-up, sexual abstinence and avoidance
               of alcoholic beverages. All of these relationships
               suggest that the deeper the degree of religiousness
               the higher the level of preventive health behaviour
               engaged in by the individual.

               Key words: Religiosity, preventive health, young
               adults, habits, and life-styles.

Introduction
       The relationship between religion and physical health has
a long and complex history. The bulk of research in the area
consists of epidemiological studies in which religiosity was
included as just one variable among many and measured by the
simplest of indicators, usually religious affiliation. Levin &

*
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