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

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
Authors:
Christopher Dana Lynn Department of Anthropology, University of Alabama USA Box 870210, Tuscaloosa, al 35487 Department of Anthropology, University at Albany (SUNY) Albany USA ny cdlynn@ua.edu

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Jason Joseph Paris Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience, Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies USA Port St. Lucie, fl Department of Psychology, University at Albany (SUNY) Albany USA ny

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Cheryl Anne Frye Department of Psychology, University at Albany (SUNY) Albany USA ny Department of Biology, University at Albany (SUNY) Albany USA ny Center for Neuroscience Research, University at Albany (SUNY) Albany USA ny Center for Life Sciences Research, University at Albany (SUNY) Albany USA ny Department of Chemistry, University of Alaska-Fairbanks USA Fairbanks, al Alaska INBRE, University of Alaska-Fairbanks USA Fairbanks, al

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Lawrence M. Schell Department of Anthropology, University at Albany (SUNY) Albany USA ny Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University at Albany (SUNY) Albany USA ny Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities, University at Albany (SUNY) Albany USA ny

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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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