Association Between Education Level and Spiritual Health Locus of Control




Dodgen, Leilani
Eke, Ike
Mandapati, Surendra
Kitzman-Ulrich, Heather
Mamun, Md Abdullah
Gant, Kisa


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Objective: For observers to be able to understand the possible link between educational attainment and active versus passive spirituality. Background: Spirituality is a core pillar within the African American (AA) community. It has permeated many facets of black culture over time, and has shaped the black experience. Previous studies have found that individuals with more spirituality were more likely to pursue higher education. However, little is known on how education attainment influences spiritual health locus of control (e.g., how God plays a role in your health). Methods: Cross-sectional data was collected from a baseline survey administered to participants in Cohort 1 and 2 of the Better Me Within Program. Participants were stratified as high education (college degree or above) or low education (high school degree or below) based on self-report. Spiritual health locus of control was evaluated with the spiritual health locus of control survey, and responses were calculated to create an active (God empowers individuals to be proactive about their health) and passive (God has control over an individuals health) spiritual health locus of control and active or passive spirituality based on survey responses. Analysis method used was the non-parametric Wilcoxin test. Results: 145 AA women with a BMI [greater than] 25 participated (mean age=49.6, SD=11.65). The Wilcoxin test demonstrated a higher mean passive spirituality score higher in the lower education group as compared to the higher education group (u=3.05 low education, u=1.27 high education; p Conclusions: Passive health locus of control has been associated with poorer health behaviors. Individuals with lower educational attainment are at a higher risk for health issues and may lack access to healthcare. The additional belief that God control’s ones health, e.g., a passive spiritual health locus of control, may contribute to these health disparities.