Original Research

Examining religiosity and spirituality concepts and their protective role in health risk behaviour: testing for mutual mediation

S. Mashegoane, M. Makhubela
Theologia Viatorum | Vol 40, No 2 | a12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/tv.v40i2.12 | © 2019 S. Mashegoane, M. Makhubela | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 May 2019 | Published: 31 December 2016

About the author(s)

S. Mashegoane, University of Limpopo, South Africa
M. Makhubela, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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This study sought to establish the conceptual relationship between intrinsic religiosity and spirituality by evaluating their capacity to mediate one another. Analysis was done using a cross-sectional data provided by university students (N = 333) from the Limpopo Province, South Africa. SEM analysis was used to test two hypothesised mediation models: 1) in which intrinsic religiosity was hypothesized to influence health risk behaviours in paths mediated by spirituality (religious well-being and existential well-being), and 2) in which spirituality (religious well-being and existential wellbeing) was hypothesized to influence health risk behaviours in paths mediated by intrinsic religiosity. Intrinsic religiosity failed to mediate the association between health risk behaviours and spirituality, and spirituality also failed to mediate the association between intrinsic religiosity and health risk behaviours. Nevertheless, there were direct relations between the religiosity/spirituality variables and most of the health risk behaviours measured in this study. Results showed that intrinsic religiosity and spirituality dimensions are independent constructs in this particular sample, since they failed to mediate each other. Our results support the putative bifurcation of the two constructs in the literature and findings of distinct independent roles they have on health.


Intrinsic Religiosity; Spirituality; Mediation; Health Risk Behaviours


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