Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Guillermo Wippold


Black Americans face health disparities due to a number of systemic barriers across individual, relational, environmental, structural and superstructural levels, and these barriers increase their likelihood of chronic illness and premature mortality. Addressing these disparities is urgently needed. Addressing health promotion through culturally relevant interventions has been shown to be more effective, and one target for health promotion is Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL), a multidimensional health indicator that aligns well with many Black Americans’ understandings of health. HRQoL is negatively related to chronic stress. This study aimed to identify factors for effective coping with chronic stress that are culturally salient for Black Americans. 290 Black American adult participants (Mage37.7, SD = 12.5) participated in a survey administered via Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), an online survey platform. Participants completed measures of physical and psychological HRQoL; perceived stress; intrinsic religiosity, an orientation to religious coping; spiritual bypass, a religiously oriented coping strategy characterized by experiential avoidance; and social support. Intrinsic religiosity was hypothesized to serve as a moderator between the relationship of stress and HRQoL, decreasing the negative outcomes of stress on HRQoL. Conversely, spiritual bypass was hypothesized to serve as a moderator between this relationship in a deleterious way, while social support was hypothesized to mitigate the relationship of spiritual bypass with HRQoL. Two hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to test the roles of hypothesized independent variables, as well as covariates religion, age, perceived socioeconomic status, and gender. Results indicated that there was no interaction between the hypothesized independent variables and the relationship between stress and HRQoL. Positive main effects of social support on HRQoL were detected in partial support of the hypothesized effects; however, spiritual bypass had no significant relationship with HRQoL, and intrinsic religiosity was associated with slight decreases in HRQoL. These findings are surprising, and are discussed. The findings of this study may serve as formative research regarding how health promotion within faith communities or with Black Americans of faith might consider resources for coping.

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