Religion/ Spirituality

Religion, self-regulation, and self-control

 Researchers from the University of Miami, in Florida reviewed of evidence that may help explain why religious people tend to live slightly longer lives; suffer less from depressive symptoms; avoid trouble with sex, drugs, and the police; do better in school; enjoy more stable and more satisfying marriages; and more regularly visit their dentists.

First, the details.

  • The authors reviewed the literature that addressed the basic idea that religion is related to high self-control and better self-regulation.

And, the results.

  • Prayer, meditation, religious imagery, and scripture reading all appear capable of serving self-regulatory functions.
  • Religion…
    • Promotes self-control.
    • Influences how goals are selected, pursued, and organized.
    • Facilitates self-monitoring.
    • Fosters the development of self-regulatory strength.
    • Prescribes and fosters proficiency in a suite of self-regulatory behavior.

The bottom line?
Some of religion’s influences on health, well-being, and social behavior may result from religion’s influences on self-control and self-regulation.

The authors concluded, “Religion, self-control, and self-regulation are indeed intimately related. However, many of the interconnections among these concepts require further empirical scrutiny.”

3/24/09 20:49 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.