Religious-Commitment Signaling and Impression Management amongst Pentecostals: Relationships to Salivary Cortisol and Alpha-Amylase

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture

Religious-commitment signaling is thought to indicate willingness to cooperate with a religious group. It follows that a desire to signal affiliation and reap concomitant benefits would lend itself to acting in socially desirable ways. Success or failure in such areas, especially where there is conscious intent, should correspond to proximal indicators of well-being, such as psychosocial or biological stress. To test this model, we assessed religious-commitment signaling and socially desirable responding among a sample of Pentecostals with respect to salivary biomarkers of stress and arousal. Results indicate that cortisol levels on worship and non-worship days were significantly influenced by religious-commitment signaling when moderated by impression management, a conscious form of socially desirable responding. No significant influences on salivary alpha-amylase were detected. These findings are important for understanding how religious-commitment signaling mechanisms may influence stress response when moderated by socially desirable responding and the role of communal orientation to psychosocial health.

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