Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Neil Schneiderman

Second Committee Member

Gail Ironson

Third Committee Member

Frank Penedo

Fourth Committee Member

Daniel Santisteban


Hispanics/Latinos in the U.S. experience a disproportionate amount of socioeconomic adversities and culturally specific stressors. In addition, they have higher rates of obesity and diabetes than other ethnic groups and may have higher rates of the metabolic syndrome. Religiosity and Spirituality (R/S) are integral parts of Hispanic culture, and have been shown to be protective of various health outcomes such as all-cause mortality and CVD in the general population. Health outcomes and possible protective factors such as R/S have not been well studied in Hispanics. The proposed study examined the relationship between multiple dimensions of R/S and the metabolic syndrome and its individual components in Hispanics aged 45 years and older. Structural equation modeling was used to examine pathways from multiple dimensions of spiritual well-being to prevalent MetS as well as individual components of the MetS, controlling for a relevant set of covariates. Although there was no relationship between R/S predictors and the MetS, secondary analyses indicated a significant zero-order correlation between relational spiritual well-being and lower prevalence of the MetS in those of Mexican origin only, which was no longer significant when adjusting for covariates. Significant zero-order correlations, which held up after controlling for other R/S predictors and covariates indicated that greater meaning/peace was associated with lower waist circumference, and greater faith was associated with lower diastolic blood pressure. Future studies should examine these relationships longitudinally and explore the possible mechanisms explaining these relationships.


Religiosity; Spirituality; Metabolic Syndrome; Hispanics; Latinos