The Sanctification of the Body and Behavioral Health Patterns of College Students

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Students; Body Image; Perception; Self Concept; Religion


Psychiatry | Religion


This study applies the construct of sanctification to college students' perceptions of their bodies. Students (N = 289) completed measures on the extent to which they viewed their bodies as being a manifestation of God (e.g., "My body is a temple of God") and as characterized by sacred qualities (e.g., holy, blessed, sacred). Greater levels of both forms of sanctification were related to higher levels of health-protective behaviors, strenuous exercise, satisfaction with one's body, and disapproval of alcohol consumption as well as to lower levels of illicit drug use, unhealthy eating practices, and alcohol consumption. Viewing the body as having sacred qualities was also related to lower rates of binge eating and illicit drug use.

DOI of Published Version

10.1207/s15327582ijpr1503_3 Previously issued as


Mahoney, A., Carels, R.A., Pargament, K.I., Wachholtz, A.B., Edwards-Leeper, L., Kaplar, M., & Frutchey, R. (2005). The Sanctification of the Body and Behavioral Health Patterns of College Students. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 15, 221-238. DOI 10.1207/s15327582ijpr1503_3 Previously issued as Bowling Green State University Working Paper Series 02-19.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

International Journal for the Psychology of Religion


At the time of publication, Amy B. Wachholtz was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.