Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Thomas F Oltmanns


Several factors contribute to the maintenance and development of well-being. For African Americans, two major factors are religiosity and racial identity, which are often central components in the definition of self within this population. Numerous studies have supported the positive relationship between each of these factors and well-being. Fewer studies have examined the impact of both variables on well-being. This study examined the relationships between religiosity, racial identity, and well-being in African American adults between the ages of 55 and 64 years: N=350). All participants completed measures of depression, neuroticism, and extraversion. A subset of participants: N=67) completed the Satisfaction with Life Scale: SWLS). Informants: N=300) completed measures of neuroticism and extraversion describing the participants. At the level of correlational analyses, both racial identity and religiosity were related to well-being. Higher levels of religiosity were associated with lower levels of participant- and informant-reported neuroticism, extraversion, and depression. Higher levels of racial identity were associated with lower levels of participant and informant-reported neuroticism, and depression. Neither racial identity nor religiosity was related to life satisfaction. Regression analyses predicting informant-reported neuroticism, as well as participant- and informant-reported extraversion and depression, revealed religiosity to be the stronger predictor of well-being. By entering religiosity and racial identity together in the second step of all regression models, we directly compared the contribution of each against the other. The model predicting life satisfaction was not significant. The results of this study suggest that although both racial identity and religiosity are related to well-being, religiosity is the stronger predictor of neuroticism, extraversion, and depression. Alternatively, neuroticism, extraversion, and depression are stronger predictors of religiosity than racial identity.


Permanent URL: