Assessment of Religious and Spiritual Capital in African American Communities

Academic Article


  • African American faith communities are an important source of social capital. The present study adapted a theory-based social capital instrument to result in religious (e. g., from organized worship) and spiritual (e. g., from relationship with higher power) capital measures. Data from a national sample of 803 African Americans suggest the instruments have high internal reliability and are distinct from general religiosity. Measurement models confirmed factor structures. Religious capital was positively associated with self-rated health status. Religious and spiritual capital were negatively associated with depressive symptoms, but these associations largely became nonsignificant in multivariate models that controlled for demographic characteristics. An exception is for spiritual capital in the form of community participation, which retained a negative association with depressive symptoms. These instruments may have applied value for health promotion research and practice in African American communities. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Holt CL; Schulz E; Williams B; Clark EM; Wang MQ; Southward PL
  • Start Page

  • 1061
  • End Page

  • 1074
  • Volume

  • 51
  • Issue

  • 4