Dong Pil Yoon

Dong Pil Yoon


Associate Professor

Research at a glance

Research Topics

Research Summary

Dr. Yoon studies the effects of religiosity/spirituality on physical and mental health.


  • PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1997
  • MSW, West Virginia University, 1989
  • BA, Yon Sei University, 1985

Classes taught

  • SOC_WK 4310: Social Statistics (BSW)
  • SOC_WK 4710: Social Justice and Social Policy I (BSW)
  • SOC_WK 4711: Social Justice and Social Policy II (BSW)
  • SOC_WK 4951 W: Research for Social Work Practice I (Writing Intensive) (BSW)
  • SOC_WK 4952W: Research Methods for Social Work II (Writing Intensive) (BSW)
  • SOC_WK 7710: Social Policy and Service Delivery in Social Work (MSW)
  • SOC_WK 7920: Advanced Foundations of Human Behavior for Administrators (MSW)
  • SOC_WK 7952: Research Methods in Social Work (MSW)
  • SOC_WK 9300: Research Methodology and Design Seminar (Ph. D.)
  • SOC_WK 9350: Advanced Quantitative Methods in Social Research (Ph. D.)


Dr. Yoon spends a great deal of time on teaching. He teaches Social Justice/Social Policy I & II and Social Statistics in the BSW program, Research Methods in Social Work in the MSW program, and Advanced/Multivariate Statistical Methods for PhD students. He emphasizes the integration between theory, research methods, statistics and social policy analysis. His goal is to “train students to become warriors and gladiators to make society a better place with a warm heart and hard head.”

Research and scholarly activity

The Effects of Religiosity/Spirituality on Physical and Mental Health

Dr. Yoon’s research interests have centered on religiosity and spirituality and how they affect both physical and mental health. He explores the impact of religiosity/spirituality on quality of life among people with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and disabilities such as spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury. Many studies attempted to differentiate statistically the spiritual and religious factors of the Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness/Spirituality (BMMRS). The overall findings of his research support a growing body of literature documenting a positive relationship between religiosity, spirituality, and mental/physical health.

His research also focuses on the impact of virtues and character traits on health outcomes among college students. The results of the study support the rationale for the needs of character development programs for undergraduate social work students.

Dr. Yoon continues to ask questions about the theory of knowledge as follows: What can we really know? How can we be certain that we have the truth? How can we be certain that we know anything at all? What is knowledge, and how is it different from belief? If we know something, must we know that we know it? He has been fascinated with philosophy of science and research. He is interested in the contemporary shift in social work research paradigms including positivism, logical positivism, and social constructionism. He engages in an epistemological debate as to the best approach to building new knowledge in practice and/or policy. Dr. Yoon is also very interested in the differences and similarities between physical and social sciences.

Select publications 

  • Yoon, D. P., Bruininks, P., Smith E. I., Witvliet, C. V. O., Cohen, D., Edman, L. R. O., Bankard, J., Little, K., & Johnstone B. (2022).  The relationships between positive character traits, virtues, and health. Social Work & Christianity
  • Cohen, D., Bhushan, B., Hanks, R., Yoon, D. P., Johnstone, B., Holliday, G., & Grover, A. (2021). Examining cultural, ethnic, and religious differences with the Brief Multidimensional Measure of religiousness and spirituality and the U.S. and India. Journal of Religion and Health.
  • Smith E. I., Yoon, D. P., Bruininks, P., Witvliet, C. V. O., Cohen, D., Edman, L. R. O., Bankard, J., Little, K., & Johnstone B. (2021).  Relationships between psychometrically distinct Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness/Spirituality (BMMRS) factors and mental health among U.S. college students. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 23(5), 375-397.
  • Johnstone, B., Bruinicks, P., Smith, E. I., Yoon, D. P., Cohen, D., Edman L., Bankard, J., & Witvliet C. (2020). Conceptualizing spirituality and religion as psychological processes: Validation of the factor structure of the BMMRS. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 24(3), 316-332.
  • Cohen, D., Bhushan, B., Hanks, R., Yoon, D. P., Johnstone, B., & Hunt, I. (2020). The right parietal lobe, sense of self, and empathy: Cross-cultural, ethnic, and religious considerations. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 23(5), 375-397.

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