Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 1098–1104 | Cite as

Religious Attendance, Health-Promoting Lifestyle Behaviors, and Depressive Symptoms Among Koreans in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

  • Hee Jun Kim
  • Michelle Pearce
  • Smi Choi-Kwon
Original Paper


Migrants, who comprise 80 % of the population in the United Arab Emirates, are at risk of developing mental health disorders. To test associations among religious attendance, health-promoting lifestyle behaviors (HPLB), and depressive symptoms, we conducted a cross-sectional survey in Dubai. Measures included frequency of religious attendance, the Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile, and the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale. Multiple regression analyses were used to explore relationships among religious attendance, HPLB, and depressive symptoms. Religious attendance was significantly associated with self-actualization, stress management, and depressive symptoms. Self-actualization and stress management mediated the relationships between religious attendance and depressive symptoms for both males and females, and interpersonal support mediated the relationship for females, controlling for age and education. The facilitation of positive internal and external resources generated by participating in religious activities may have increased the likelihood that the Korean migrants would engage in psychosocial healthy lifestyle behaviors, and may have decreased depressive symptoms.


Religious attendance Depressive symptoms Health behavior Migrants 


  1. 1.
    Al-Maskari F, et al. Prevalence of depression and suicidal behaviors among male migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates. J Immigr Minor Health. 2011;13:1027–32.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Embassy of Republic of Korea to the UAE. A general information of the UAE. 2010. Accessed Jan 2014.
  3. 3.
    Foyle MF, et al. Expatriate mental health. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1998;97(4):278–83.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bhugra D. Migration and mental health. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2004;109:243–58.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Koronfel A. Suicide in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. J Clin Forensic Med. 2002;9(1):5–11.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dervic K, et al. Suicide rates in the national and expatriate population in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2012;58:652–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Koenig HG, et al. Handbook of religion and health. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press; 2012.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hurh WM, Kim KC. Religious participation of Korean immigrants in the United States. J Sci Study Relig. 1990;29(1):19–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bankston CL, Zhou M. Religious participation, ethnic identification, and adaptation of Vietnamese adolescents in an immigrant community. Sociol Q. 1995;36:523–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Strawbridge WJ, et al. RA increases survival by improving and maintaining good health behaviors, mental health, and social relationships. Ann Behav Med. 2001;23(1):68.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Pender NJ, et al. Health promotion in nursing practice. NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall; 2006.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Walker SN, et al. The health-promoting lifestyle profile: development and psychometric characteristics. Nurs Res. 1987;36(2):76–81.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hill TD, et al. RA and the health behaviors of Texas adults. Prev Med. 2006;42(4):309–12.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Lytle LA, et al. Predicting adolescents/intake of fruits and vegetables. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2003;35(4):170–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Park JS, Oh YJ. Health promoting lifestyle of Korean immigrants in the USA. J Korean Commun Nurs. 2001;12(2):491–503 (in Korean).Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hofstetter CR, et al. Does church participation facilitate tobacco control? A report on Korean immigrants. J Immigr Minor Health. 2010;12:187–97.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hsiao Y, et al. Spiritual health, clinical practice stress, depressive tendency and health-promoting behaviours among nursing students. J Adv Nurs. 2010;66(7):1612–22.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Kang S, et al. Health-promoting lifestyle and depression in metabolic syndrome patients in Korea. Int J Nurs Pract. 2012;18(3):268–74.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Yi M, Kim J. Factors influencing health-promoting behaviors in Korean breast cancer survivors. Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2013;17(2):138–45.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Sarris JON, et al. Lifestyle medicine for depression. BMC Psychiatry. 2014;14(1):107.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Heiniger LS, et al. Fatalism and health promoting behaviors in Chinese and Korean immigrants and caucasians. J Immigr Minor Health. 2013. doi: 10.1007/s10903-013-9922-5.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Morgenstern LB, et al. Fatalism, optimism, spirituality, depressive symptoms, and stroke outcome: a population-based analysis. Stroke. 2011;42(12):3518–23.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Roberts RE, et al. Fatalism and risk of adolescent depression. Psychiatry. 2000;63:239–52.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Lovibond SH, Lovibond PF. Manual for the depression anxiety stress scales. Sydney: Psychology Foundation; 1995.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale. The Korean version of the DASS. Accessed April 2014.
  26. 26.
    Lee KW. Relations between depression, anxiety, stress and the concentration of urinary hydroxyproline and Proline (Doctoral dissertation). Seoul: Graduate School of Environmental Engineering, Yonsei University. 2007 (in Korean).Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Gong SH. A comparative study on health promoting lifestyle, perception for successful aging and preparation for old age among working and non-working married women (Master’s thesis). Seoul: Graduate School of Information in Clinical Nursing, Hanyang University. 2010 (in Korean).Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Process procedure for SPSS. My macros and code for SPSS and SAS. Accessed April 2014.
  29. 29.
    Hayes AF, Scharkow M. The relative trustworthiness of inferential tests of the indirect effect in statistical mediation analysis: does method really matter? Psychol Sci. 2013;24(10):1918–27.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Yang BM. Health care system and national health insurance of south korea. International society for pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research. Accessed May 2014.
  31. 31.
    Castro JM. Health care in Dubai at a glance. Expatforum. Accessed May 2014.
  32. 32.
    Min PG. The structure and social functions of Korean immigrant churches in the United States. Int Migrat Rev. 1992;26:1370–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Kim S, et al. Religiosity/spirituality and life satisfaction in Korean American adolescents. Psychol Relig Spiritual. 2013;5(1):33–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of NursingUniversity of Maryland, BaltimoreBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family and Community Medicine, Center for Integrative MedicineUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Nursing ScienceSeoul National UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

Personalised recommendations