Date of Completion

Summer 8-31-2023

Thesis Advisor(s)

Dr. Crystal Park

Honors Major

Physiology and Neurobiology


Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Medical Humanities | Medicine and Health Sciences | Psychiatry and Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The objective of this study is to investigate the correlation between Christian values, perceptions of God, and physiological stress, assessed through heart rate, among individuals who are experiencing grief due to the loss of a loved one. Previous studies have analyzed various physiological effects on the body. There are very few studies that examine the correlation between Christian values and heart rate in bereaved participants. To explore these topics further, this study analyzes 59 undergraduate students who have recently lost a loved one, identify as a Christian, and are at least 18 years old. The participants' perceptions of God and Christian worldviews were assessed in a survey. On the physiological side, heart rate is measured as an indicator of stress. We hypothesized that bereaved participants with a stronger perception of God and Christian values would have lower levels of physiological stress, which would reflect a lower heart rate. This hypothesis is based on the idea that Christian values, faith, and religious beliefs could serve as coping mechanisms that provide comfort, support, and meaning in times of distress, thereby reducing the physiological stress response. Although the results show minimal correlation between Christian worldviews and heart rate, it still serves as a valuable contribution to the field by opening up the discussion about the potential connections between Christian values and coping after loss. This project implies the need for more extensive research involving larger and more diverse samples which could give us more insight on the intricate connection between the religious mind and body. It prompts further extensive research and inspires scholars to delve deeper into the utilization of Christian teachings as holistic coping mechanisms for managing physiological stress and overall well-being.