Date of Award

January 2021

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Kaveh Khoshnood

Second Advisor

Linda Niccolai


COVID-19 is a recently emerging infectious disease that spreads easily through respiratory droplets and can cause severe illness and death. Individuals can be both infectious and asymptomatic, which makes it difficult to identify those who are at-risk of spreading the disease to others. In the US, shortly after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic disease, states began to issue lockdown orders encouraging residents to stay inside to reduce the spread of the virus. As a result, many Americans were not able to attend religious gatherings or worship services for several months. A cross-sectional study surveyed religious Americans in January and February 2021 to determine how worship has changed during the pandemic and how perceptions of COVID-19 vary by religion. There is a significant difference in how often Americans are attending worship services one year into the pandemic compared to how often they were attending before (p=<0.0001). Of the respondents whose houses of worship have reopened for modified in-person services, two-thirds (66.5%) believe that the precautions that have been put in place are enough to keep them protected from COVID-19. Men were significantly more willing to get vaccinated than women (p=0.006), and Non-Protestant Christians indicated that their willingness to get the COVID 19 vaccine would decrease significantly if a religious leader spoke out against it (p=<0.0001). This thesis is intended for state and local leaders to reference while trying to create safety protocols for religious organizations in future respiratory pandemics.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access