Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Robinson JaMuir


More people in the United States are approaching retirement age, a trend which has resulted in increased study on life satisfaction and psychological well-being of the elderly. Previous researchers have focused on the relationship between religious social support and life satisfaction; however, there remains a gap in the literature regarding how race and gender may influence this association. Knowledge of interactions between religiosity, gender, and race will enable counselors working with different groups of religiously inclined clients to develop and implement religious-based interventions specific to their clients. Guided by the social ecological model, the purpose of this study was to examine how gender and race influence religious social relationships and psychological well-being, optimism, and self-rated health among the elderly, using data from the Religion, Aging, and Health Survey. Pearson bivariate correlations and hierarchical linear regression were used to examine multicollinearity among variables and whether the association between the religious variables measured and the psychological well-being of the elderly varied by gender and/or race. All 3 religious constructs significantly predicted positive well-being outcomes. However, only gender and race interactions were significant for the religious-based relationships with others variable. Income and marital status were found to be significant covariats for this study. Also, both income and marital status were significantly associated with the relationship between religious variables and the psychological well-being of the elderly. Findings from this study can aid religious leaders and public health practitioners in developing programs and policies to improve perception of health and psychological wellbeing among the elderly.