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Relationship of spirituality, subjective well-being, and psychological well-being in a population of African-American college students

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Mary Elizabeth Walker
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of four variables: spirituality, religiosity, subjective well-being, and psychological well-being. Subjects were 51 male and 106 female African American college students recruited from various undergraduate classes. Each participant completed a demographic questionnaire concerning religious activity and a battery of surveys including the Spiritual Involvement and Beliefs Scale, the Scales of Psychological Well-Being, and the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Scale scores were analyzed by multiple regression, correlation, and independent samples t-tests. Results indicated that spirituality is a positive predictor of subjective well-being and psychological well-being. Religiosity was not found to have a significant relationship with subjective well-being or psychological well-being. Spirituality and religiosity showed a significant correlation. No significant differences were revealed between the subjective well-being scores of males and females.

v TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER PAGE I. INTRODUCTION.............................................................................................1 Statement of the Problem………………………………………................1 Definitions...................................................................................................8 Purpose of the Study and Research Questions............................................9

II. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE.................................................................10

Research Difficulties.................................................................................12 Conceptualization of Well-being..............................................................19 Subjective Well-being (SWB)..................................................................20 History.......................................................................................................21 Models of Subjective Well-being.............................................................24 Spirituality.................................................................................................26 Psychological Well-being.........................................................................28 Assessment Considerations.......................................................................30 Predictors of Well-being...........................................................................31 Summary of the Literature........................................................................33

III. METHODS.....................................................................................................34 Participants................................................................................................34 Instruments................................................................................................34 Procedure..................................................................................................37 Research Design and Data Analysis.........................................................37 Hypotheses................................................................................................38

IV. PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA.........................................40 Results by Hypotheses………………………………………..................41

V. DISCUSSION.................................................................................................45 Limitations, Considerations, and Future Research……………………...51 Implications for Practice...........................................................................52

vi REFERENCES.................................................................................................................55 APPENDICES..................................................................................................................75

Appendix A. Consent Forms................................................................................76 Appendix B. Demographic Survey......................................................................78 Appendix C. The Spiritual Involvement and Beliefs Scale.................................79 Appendix D. Scales of Psychological Well-being Purposes in Life Subscale....82 Appendix E. Satisfaction with Life Scale............................................................84 Appendix F. Debriefing Form..............................................................................85 Appendix G. IRB Approval Letter.......................................................................86

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Religious belief and spirituality are widespread throughout American society. African American culture has a rich history embedded with spirituality and religiosity (Billingsley, 1992). For a period of time, religion and religiosity became unpopular in the United States. In recent decades, the American public has experienced a resurgence of interest in religion and spirituality as evidenced by the Gallop poll of 1995 which found a high percentage (95%) of Americans believe in God and identified a religious preference (Gallup, 1995). This renewed interest has resulted in a call for holistic care in both mental and physical health by including some measure of spirituality in research and theory. More specifically, holistic practice involves the dynamic interplay between mind, body, and spirit. Thus, religiosity and spirituality are important and provocative areas for scientific study. Statement of the Problem Despite the appearance of spiritual and religious interest in popular culture, study, and literature, psychology has traditionally had difficulty integrating religiosity, spirituality, or any matters of the spirit into scientific study. Such matters do not easily lend themselves to scientific approaches. Spiritual and religious beliefs are, for the most part, internal, subjective, and private. The scientific method is traditionally applied to objective measurement of concrete events and processes. Further, part of the difficulty in

2 empirical studies of spirituality and religiosity is found in defining such internal dimensions and distinguishing between spirituality, religiosity, and such psychological resources such as hope, optimism, and self-efficacy. This present study asserts that matters of the spirit are no less measurable than complex emotional constructs and psychological processes. It is this author’s contention that matters of the spirit are essential to the understanding of human experience. Defining Religiosity and Spirituality.

The concepts of spirituality and religiosity are often used interchangeably and have much in common. However, there are important conceptual and empirical differences between them (Piedmont, 2004). The research of Koenig, McCullough, and Larson (2001) suggests that these are related but distinctive aspects of human experience and behavior. According to Miller and Thoresen (1999), spirituality is an attribute of an individual, whereas religiosity encompasses more of the beliefs, rituals, and practices of an institutional nature. Though strongly related, one can be viewed as a more internal process and the other as an external event. However, finding acceptable definitions for religiosity and spirituality is an elusive task. Researchers in the fields of both psychology and medicine have reported findings that support a strong relationship among various religious factors, health, and well-being. These findings have been supported by the comprehensive review of more than two hundred relevant articles which indicates that religion is highly correlated with health outcomes (Levin & Schiller, 1987), including both physical and mental health domains (Baker & Grosuch, 1982; Ellison & Smith, 1991; Gartner, Larson, & Allen, 1991). Professional health care workers also believe in the power of spirituality to influence the

3 process of recovery from chronic illnesses and to influence the course of medical and psychological interventions (Feher & Maly, 1999; Kirkpatrick & McCullough, 1999; Rose, 1999). For example, although it is not yet understood how and in what ways spirituality promotes positive change, it has long been recognized as a key component in the treatment of chemical dependency (Piedmont, 2004). The spiritual and religious domains are significantly associated with many facets of adaptive functioning (e.g., achieving a sense of meaning in life (Clark, 1958), maintaining hope and optimism (Myers, 1992; Sethi & Seligman, 1983), and coping with difficulty (Pargament, 1997)). It has been suggested that frequency of church attendance is related to overall well-being and inversely related to distress and anxiety (Elliston, Boardman, Williams, & Jackson, 2001). On the whole, the empirical work in the area of spirituality and religion tends to remain at the descriptive level. Conceptual models concerning the influence of these constructs have yet to be fully developed, limiting religiosity and spirituality to a cognitive role rather than as pathways for change, coping, and well-being (Gall, Charbonneau, Clarke, Grant, Joseph, & Shouldice, 2005). Defining Well-Being Researchers have also investigated the construct of well- being from several vantage points. Quality of life or subjective well-being has been reported to be related to psychological well-being (Evans, 1997; Evans, Thompson, Browne, Barr, & Barton, 1993). Researchers have reported that a number of particular components of spirituality have been found to be correlated with subjective well-being. As a result, the argument has been made for spirituality to be considered an important factor in models of quality of life or well-being (Poloma & Pendleton, 1991). The

4 therapeutic benefits of religion and spirituality on health and psychological well-being have been defined in terms of psychological resources and constructs, rather than a global view.

The study of psychological well-being has been guided by two primary concepts of positive functioning. The first, which has gained prominence in sociological research, emphasized life-satisfaction as the key indicator of well-being. Life satisfaction or happiness was conceptualized as a cognitive component and was measured by global questions concerning overall satisfaction and specific questions relating to work, income, social relationships, and neighborhood (Andrews, 1991; Diener, 1984). This conceptualization, which has generally focused on social change and whether or not reported levels of well-being and their correlates have varied over time, is typically referred to as subjective well-being (SWB). Studies of subjective well-being have attempted to understand people’s evaluations of their lives. These evaluations have been primarily cognitive. A measurement of the correlates of life satisfaction is one means that has been used to understand and promote these positive qualities. Quality-of-life research has been described as data-driven rather than having been based on theory or a conceptual framework (Headey, Kelley, & Wearing, 1993). Only minimal attention has been given to the underlying question: What does it mean to be psychologically well? Another approach to well-being has also focused on positive functioning by measuring distinctions between positive and negative affect. Happiness was defined as a balance between the two in the seminal work of Bradburn (1969). Other studies

5 examining the frequency and intensity of positive and negative affect found frequency to be a stronger indicator of well-being. Not only was it more strongly related to long-term emotional well-being than the intensity, but frequency was easier to be measure and was more strongly related to long-term emotional well-being (Diener & Larson, 1993: Diener, Sandvik, & Pavot, 1991). Although additional information was gained, this approach lacked substantially in defining a more complete conceptualization of psychological well-being. Psychological well-being has often been formulated in terms of emotional well-being, with emotional well-being measured by an individual’s resources for coping and adjustment. One component of this conceptualization includes the need to understand the meaning of existence, which in turn serves to help individuals order their goals (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). Although subjective well-being (SWB) and psychological well-being (PWB) are sometimes used interchangeably, as are spirituality and religiosity, a case can be made for maintaining a distinction between the two concepts. A review of the literature indicated that although SWB and PWB are related, they remain distinct aspects of positive psychological functioning (Keyes, Schmotkin, & Ryff, 2002). That distinction can be defined as the difference between a happy life (SWB) and a meaningful life (PWB). For the purpose of this study, subjective well-being will be formulated in terms of well-being in terms of overall life satisfaction and happiness. Psychological well-being will be conceptualized in terms of a multi-dimensional model that distills six psychological dimensions of challenged thriving: self-acceptance, environmental

6 mastery, positive relations with others, personal growth, purpose in life, and autonomy. (Ryff, 1989). Psychological Well-being and African American Culture. African Americans score higher on psychological distress measures than European Americans. Social conditions linked to racism, poverty, impoverished living conditions, low self-esteem, and lack of power have been suggested as the primary cause of psychological problems Among African Americans (Neighbors, 1990). Additionally, research indicates that there are many difficulties facing the subjective well-being of African Americans in higher education, including lower self-esteem, hostility, and anxiety (Ewing, Richardson, James- Myers, & Russell, 1996).

One means of overcoming negative social conditions is the social and family connections found in African American culture. As compared to European Americans, African Americans have more frequent interactions with their friends and neighbors and maintain significant levels of involvement in African American churches (Snowden, 2001). Through household surveys of more than 18,000 respondents, several indicators of greater social embeddedness were found among African Americans than among European Americans. African American males reported frequent interactions associated with high levels of community involvement and peer support networks. African American females indicated they were more likely to attend meetings of clubs, churches, and other groups than European American females (Snowden, 2001). A review of the literature suggests that there are factors that influence subjective well-being in African Americans exclusive to the culture. Therefore, predictors for

7 subjective well-being may be different to African American populations than for other ethnic groups (Diener, 1984). Among the possible variables are spirituality and religiosity. African Americans consistently exhibit higher levels of spirituality than European Americans (Donahue & Benson, 1995; Benson et al., 1986, Snowden, 2001). Studies suggest that spirituality may play a unique role in the lives of African Americans (Mattis & Jagers, 2001; Miller, Fleming & Brown-Anderson, 1998). A recent study (Krause, 2004) demonstrated a strong relationship between belief(s) in the power of religion to sustain African Americans during adversity and high satisfaction with life. Spirituality and Psychological Study. The growth of interest in spirituality and religiosity in popular culture and more recently in psychological literature coincides with my own background of training and working in religious life. I have also been influenced to a degree with the positive psychology movement, which emphasizes well-being rather than pathology, resources rather than deficits, and resilience rather than failure. This study is concerned with the relationship that exists between four distinct but related components: religiosity, spirituality, subjective well-being, and psychological well-being. The positive psychology movement has led to research on the psychological correlates of well-being. Well-being has demonstrated an association of the experience of high positive affect and low negative affect. New research has also identified other factors that contribute to individual differences in well-being (Watson, 2000). Watson’s study and others (Diener, 2000; Myers & Diener, 1995) suggest that religion and spirituality can contribute unique and significant variance to individual well-being.

8 Despite a long and uneven history of research in the areas of psychology and religion, for the most part spirituality and religiosity are seen as positive influences in a subjective sense of well-being. However, studies seldom distinguish among spirituality, religiosity, and subjective well-being versus psychological well-being. A national study funded by the Templeton Foundation was conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at the University of California at Los Angeles in 2004. Researchers surveyed 3,680 undergraduates attending 46 diverse colleges and universities across the country to determine distinguishing features. The results indicated a high level of spiritual engagement and commitment among all college students. Three in four students surveyed reported that they pray, that religion is personally helpful to them, and that they discuss religion and spirituality with friends. The study further indicated that spirituality and religion influence self-esteem and satisfaction with college life. The HERI study did make distinctions between religious activity and spirituality, but not between subjective well-being and psychological well-being. The research compared the role of religious activity and spirituality with satisfaction with college and other psychological measures, such as self-esteem and emotional distress. However, there was no examination of a global sense of happiness or psychological well-being. Definitions Psychological Well-Being: Psychological well-being will be conceptualized in terms of a multi-dimensional model that distills six psychological dimensions of challenged thriving: self-acceptance, environmental mastery, positive relations with others, personal growth, purpose in life, and autonomy (Ryff, 1989).

9 Religiosity: For the purposes of this study, religiosity will be formulated in terms of a formal, organizational dimension that is demonstrated in external acts such as church attendance, worship, prayer, and reading of religious materials (Miller & Thorensen, 2000). Spirituality: Spirituality will be understood as the personal striving for the sacred and a relationship with God or a Higher Power (Hatch, et al., 1998). Subjective Well-Being: For purposes of this study, subjective well-being will be defined in terms of overall life satisfaction and happiness (Keyes, Schmotkin, & Ryff, 2002). Purpose of the Study and Research Questions This study is directly concerned with the relationship that exists among four distinct but related components: religiosity, spirituality, subjective well-being, and psychological well-being. Answers to the following questions will be sought: Is there a significant relationship between the degree of spiritual well-being and the degree of psychological well-being among African Americans? Is there a significant relationship between the degree of spiritual well-being and the degree of subjective well-being among African Americans? Is there a significant relationship between religiosity and the degree of psychological well-being among African Americans? Is there a significant relationship between religiosity and the degree of subjective well-being among African Americans? Is there a relationship or predictability of gender and spiritual well-being?

CHAPTER II REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Religion, in some form, has been found in every known culture in the world for thousands of years. Religion has made significant contributions to the lives of individuals and groups throughout history. Religion and spirituality are of particular significance to African Americans and have been demonstrated to be more salient in the lives of African Americans than their white counterparts (Boykin, 1983; Jagers, 1996). African Americans are more religious than white Americans and use religion on a daily basis more frequently (Benson et al., 2005, Krause, 2003; Walker & Dixon, 2002). The effects of religion on positive outcomes are stronger in African-American students than those of white students (Walker & Dixon, 2002). African-American adolescents report higher rates of religious participation and importance (Benson et al., 2005, Benson & Donahue, 1989). Historically, the relationship between psychology and religion has been an uneasy one with varying degrees of mutual suspicion and distrust. Although psychology is accepted as originating with the ancient Greeks, as a professional field, psychology is relatively new. As a professional field, psychology has been viewed as a rival to religion in Western societies. Religious leaders have accused professionals in the field of psychology of arrogance, elitism, amorality, and selfishness. In contrast, psychology professionals have accused religious leaders of dogmatism, intolerance, social repression,

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and mental illness (Pargament, 1997). The reasons for this rift are many. Some reasons appear to be grounded in what can only be described as territorial viewpoints, despite the fact that neither field has exclusive rights of concern for the human condition. Other, perhaps more legitimate and certainly more noble concerns, also contribute to the tense relationship between the two fields Pargament (1997) suggested that differences between psychology and religion in their approaches to personal control may be an underlying basis of conflict. The religious world stresses the ways in which people are powerless and must look past human solution for answers to important questions. On the other hand, psychology proposes that answers lie within humankind, contingent upon the optimization of capabilities. Although there are some important differences in worldviews and practices between the two fields, the differences are not necessarily irreconcilable (Pargament, 1997). Another area of conflict between the two fields is found in the nature of scientific research itself. Science is considered objective; religion, subjective. Empirical research has historically involved phenomena that was directly observable or could be inferred indirectly through predicted effects. One problem lies in the difficultly in observing religion and spirituality. As a result, the tendency has been to measure the practices of religion and spirituality, which may be inadequate in capturing some features of religious and spiritual life. However, the argument can also be made that complex cognitive processes, emotional states, and the inner workings of psychotherapy could be similarly difficult to capture. Although there may be some dispute about how best to conduct and

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interpret the research, there is little scientific basis for the assumption that spirituality cannot or should not be studied (Miller & Thoresen, 2003). Research Difficulties Although a long tradition for the scientific study of religion does exists, the spiritual side of human nature has often been considered by psychology researchers to be immaterial. As a result, little research in this area was conducted during the 20 th century. The research that was conducted was limited, opposed by many in field, and yielded varying results (Ventis, 1995). One of the seminal works studying

religion and spirituality is that of William J ames (1902, 1961).

James framed religion as a means of appreciating tho se things that are beyond their own control. He described the essence of religion as willingness to surrender. For James, the primary religious force was personal emotional experience, and organized religious experiences were excluded from his studies. Other modern psychology research has resulted in wildly differing conclusions. For example, Freud (1927, 1964), and Ellis (1980) considered religion to be pathological, while Allport (1950) and Jung (1933) considered religion to be beneficial to mental health. Becker (1971) and Dittes (1969) conducted extensive literature reviews and also reached opposing conclusions. Dittes found religions and mental health to be negatively related while only two years later, Becker reported religion to be positively related to mental health. One explanation of the differing results is that psychology researchers have tended to draw overly simple and conflicting conclusions about the nature of the relationship between religion and mental health. Such research studies were sometimes

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based upon limited samples, or focused only upon a single, one dimensional measure of the more complex and multidimensional constructs of religion and spirituality (Ventis, 1995). Systematic reviews of empirical literature indicate that religion and spirituality are understudied research variables in a number of health-related disciplines, including psychology (Weaver, et al., 1998) and psychiatry (Craigie, Lin, Larson, & Lyons, 1988). Religion and spirituality have long been considered part of the personal value system of the client and not appropriate for therapeutic examination. However, it has become increasingly apparent that therapy is value-laden, not value-free , as once assumed. It has f urther been suggested by the post-positivistic philosophy of science that data are not value free, but are theory-laden (Jones, 1994). Therapists have been called upon to be aware of their personal values in order to prevent undue influence of therapeutic outcomes. Additionally, it is imperative for the therapist to also be aware of and sensitive to the client’s values, including spiritual and religious ones, during the course of therapy. Interest in religion and spirituality has increased over the past two decades among the general population, which has led to an

increased interest in religious counseling. A pproximately 67% of the American public claim the religion is a “very important” part of their lives (Gallup, 1995). In 1998, 82% of Americans expressed an interest in spiritual growth, compared to only 58% expressing similar interests in 1994 (Myers, 2000). Religious experience is an important multicultural element. With the emergence of multiculturalism as a “fourth force” in psychology (Cheatham, Ivey, Ivey, & Simek-

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Morgan, 1993) the role of religion in psychotherapy has become an acceptable topic for discussion and training. Some researchers

suggest that psychologists have an obligation to con sider religion as they would any other client cultural characteristic such as race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation (Shafranske & Malony, 1996). Though literature on the subject has been sparing, current research is finally indicating a more comfortable and respectful relationship between psychology and religion. The emergence of religious and spiritual issues in counseling has become the subject of increasingly numerous research studies. The American Counseling Association (ACA) has acknowledged the spiritual dimension as a necessary and beneficial component in mental health counseling, and founded the Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVIC). The ACA has also recognized the need to incorporate religious and spiritual competencies as part of the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) standards. In the field of mental health, religious issues has historically received little attention in terms of the training of professionals such as clinical psychologists and psychiatrists, but that is beginning to change (Shafranske & Malony, 1990). While an increased focus on spiritual and religious issues has been seen in psychotherapeutic practice, science in general and psychology specifically have traditionally had difficulty integrating matters of the spirit and religion into scientific study. Until recently, the majority of published research on the psychology of religion appeared in specialized journals such as Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion , the

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Review of Religious Research , and the International Journal for the Review of Religious Research (Paloutzian & Kirkpatrick, 1995). Religious variables have been included in psychological research as only a secondary concern, making such information difficult to locate and identify (Gorsuch, 1988). Regardless of these issues, the most current literature includes increasing empirical data to support the importance of religiosity and spirituality in people’s lives, as well as the fact that religion and spirituality are significantly associated with many facets of adaptive functioning (Hathaway, Scott, & Garver, 2004). Psychological research exploring how religion aids in coping with stressful events suggests that religious behaviors and beliefs such as worship, prayer, and private devotions are positively related to coping (Murphy et al., 2000). Empirical investigations in other fields such as religion, sociology, and medicine have demonstrated strong positive effects of religious involvement in a variety of positive attributes, including coping (Hathaway & Pargament, 1990), prevention (Maton & Wells, 1995), and improved life satisfaction (Thomas & Holmes, 1992). A central challenge in psychological theory and research on religiosity and spirituality has been one of measurement. A wide array of constructs have been used for measuring religiosity and spirituality, ranging from a one-dimensional, single-item index of religious attendance to a complex assessment of eleven dimensions proposed by King and Hunt (1969). Taylor, Mattis, & Chatters (1999) developed a three-dimensional model to capture the construct of religious involvement: organizational, non- organizational, and subjective religiosity. Organizational religious involvement includes

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attendance at religious functions and association with religious groups and institutions. Non-organizational religious activity includes behaviors such as prayer, devotional reading, or watching or listening to religious programming. Subjective religiosity includes perceptions and attitudes about the importance of religion and its role in daily life (Taylor, Mattis, & Chatters, 1999). The need for more complex views and measurements of different approaches to religiosity and spirituality has been well-documented (Ventis, 1995). It is commonly understood that religiosity is a multidimensional and multilevel construct that is manifested in a myriad of ways at both psychological and sociological levels of analysis. Religion and spirituality cannot be defined in terms of a particular set of behaviors, beliefs, or institutions. An individual’s approach to practices and beliefs adds yet another dimension to the construct (Ventis, 1995). The most commonly used research framework and approaches in psychology and religion has been the work of Allport and Ross (1967) who generated a considerable body of research. Their model distinguishes between extrinsic and intrinsic religious approaches and offers the conceptualization of religiosity as a one-dimensional trait with Intrinsic Religious Orientation and Extrinsic Religious Orientation at polar ends of a continuum. The research exploring this approach has not supported this conceptualization. Instead, studies demonstrate that Intrinsic and Extrinsic Religiousness function as orthogonal dimensions rather than a single dimension (Kirkpatrick, 1989). The value of the Intrinsic and Extrinsic scales is that it is best used as two distinct

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measures rather than opposite ends of a single continuum (Hunt & King, 1971; Hood, 1973). The work of Gordon Allport’s (1950) distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic has been the focus of considerable research. In a meta-analysis of 70 studies (Donohue, 1985), a study by Alker and Gawin (1978) is highlighted in which intrinsic and extrinsic individuals are compared using the Religious Orientation Scale (ROS). “Intrinsics” appear healthier on measures of well-being, internal locus of control, and existential and trait anxiety. Similar findings were reported in a study comparing “intrinsics” and subjects who were non-religious (McClain, 1978). Specific questions concerning the relationship between religion and mental health were posed in the research of Ellison, Gay, & Glass (1989). Using a random population study from the 1983 National Opinion Research Center (NORC), exploration was made of potential dimensions associated with psychological well-being and possible controlling effects of other predictors of well-being such as the benefits of social involvement. Life satisfaction was measured using four domain-specific measures: family life, finances, friendships, and health. Religious affiliation was measured in four ways: type of affiliation or denomination, strength of affiliation, frequency of attendance, and devotional intensity. The final regression model, with all variables entered, indicated the contribution of devotional intensity to general life satisfaction as the third strongest predictor of life satisfaction behind marital status and income (as cited in Reed & Florian, 1991).

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Reed and Florian (1991) used the 1984 NORC data to conduct similar research. The study theorized that if religion offers meaning and understanding, then it should enhance subjective well-being. Using strength of religious affiliation as a predictor variable, the study indicated that religious affiliation contributed significantly to three of the four independent variables: Happiness, Family Satisfaction, and Life (exciting). Further analysis demonstrated that the association between religious affiliation and happiness was especially true for individuals of upper social status. This research supports the hypothesis that religiousness is associated with subjective well-being. Other studies of spirituality and religiosity have found a number of particular components that correlate with subjective well-being. Bergin’s (1983) meta-analysis of studies of religiousness and mental health found significant positive relationships in only a small number of studies. The conclusion was that the many diverse measures of religiousness and mental health were combined in such a way that no clear findings could be identified. Other components of spirituality and religiosity investigated were a belief in God (Kehn, 1995), the reporting of peak experiences (Poloma & Pendleton, 1991), reports of close affiliation with God or a “divine other” (Pollner, 1989), and reports of having experienced the presence of God or a higher power (Poloma & Pendleton, 1991). Studies employing one-dimensional constructs of spirituality and religiosity found religious beliefs and participation in religious activities to be positively correlated with high measures of subjective well-being (Diener, 1984; Hill & Pargament, 2003; Thomas & Holmes, 1992). As opposed to Bergin’s 1983 findings, Myers and Diener (1995) called the links between religion and mental health impressive. A theoretical

Full document contains 94 pages
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of four variables: spirituality, religiosity, subjective well-being, and psychological well-being. Subjects were 51 male and 106 female African American college students recruited from various undergraduate classes. Each participant completed a demographic questionnaire concerning religious activity and a battery of surveys including the Spiritual Involvement and Beliefs Scale, the Scales of Psychological Well-Being, and the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Scale scores were analyzed by multiple regression, correlation, and independent samples t-tests. Results indicated that spirituality is a positive predictor of subjective well-being and psychological well-being. Religiosity was not found to have a significant relationship with subjective well-being or psychological well-being. Spirituality and religiosity showed a significant correlation. No significant differences were revealed between the subjective well-being scores of males and females.