Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Health Research Methodology

Supervisor

Mark Oremus

Co-Supervisor

Michael Boyle

Language

English

Committee Member

Patricia Strachan

Abstract

Research examining the relationships between religious indicators and the cardiovascular health of individuals and populations has been relatively understudied in the Canadian context. This thesis contains three main studies, developed from a sequential explanatory mixed method research design.

The first study examined the association between the frequency of religious service attendance (RSA) and prevalence of coronary heart disease (CHD), diabetes and high blood pressure in Canada. The Saskatchewan sample of the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS-4.1) was used to build multivariable logistic regression models. The analysis revealed participants who attended religious services more than once a week had lower prevalent odds of CHD (OR= 0.82, 95% CI 0.61-1.11, p>0.05), diabetes (OR=0.60, 95% CI 0.45-0.80, p<0.05) and high blood pressure (OR= 0.82, 95% CI 0.68-0.99, p<0.05) compared to participants who attended less than once a year after adjustment for demographic, socio-economic and health behaviour factors.

The second study was qualitative and undertaken to help interpret and explain the quantitative results from the CCHS. Twelve semi-structured interviews with ordained pastors and three focus groups with parishioners in Catholic, Anglican and United churches were conducted in Canada. The findings suggest that attending religious services: (1) promotes mental health; (2) provides social support and activities; and (3) promotes health and lifestyle behaviours to lower CHD risk.

Qualitative data from the second study was used for the third study, which identified relevant factors associated with the implementation of heart health promotion programs in churches. Among the various factors identified, pastor leadership, funding for a parish nurse, community-focused interventions, secured infrastructure and social support were important to facilitate health promotion programs in churches.

McMaster University Library

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