Health Sciences for Health Education & Promotion (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Ashley Walker and Dr. Joanne Chopak-Foss


Background: College students report a higher level of stress related to daily functioning (Kreig, 2013). First year students who report feeling overwhelmed has doubled in current years while colleges have reported an increase in the use of on-campus counseling services (up 8% over the past three years) (Kreig, 2013; American Psychological Association, 2014). Previous studies in older adult populations link religiousness to better mental health (Moreira-Almeida, Neto, & Koenig, 2006), suggesting that religion can be used as a coping resource when faced with stressful events (Hood, Hill, & Spilka, 2009). Utilizing the Transactional Theory of Stress and Coping, this study examined the association between religious commitment and perceived stress levels in undergraduate college students. Methods: Self-administered questionnaires were completed by 172 undergraduate college students from a mid-sized, Southeastern university. Religious Commitment was measured using the Religious Commitment Inventory while perceived stress was measured using the Perceived Stress Scale. The survey was administered electronically using the Qualtrics survey software and distributed to several common core classes, student organizations, and campus-wide email announcements. Results: The study did not reveal any significant relationships between the following variables: perceived stress and strength of religious commitment. Significant relationships were found between these variables: the relationship between religion and intrapersonal religious commitment, between interpersonal religious commitment, and between gender and intrapersonal religious commitment. Conclusion: More research is needed to understand how religious beliefs and spirituality play a role in the mental wellbeing of college students. Future research should include more variables that influence coping methods in college students.