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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Multi-dimensional Nature of Religiosity/Spirituality and its Association with Psychological Adjustment

  • Author(s): Schettino, Jonathan R.
  • Advisor(s): Myers, Hector F
  • Dunkel Schetter, Christine
  • et al.

The present study examined the dimensional structure of religiosity/spirituality (R/S) and its relationship with positive psychological adjustment (defined here as a latent variable indicated by lower levels of depression and perceived stress and higher levels of positive affect) within a Christian context. Two separate samples (total N = 806) were recruited online via Amazon MechTurk and consisted of Christian American adults (age > 18). R/S was measured using the MCRSI, a 29-item inventory designed to measure multiple conceptual dimensions of R/S (e.g., intrinsic religiosity, forgiveness, health related beliefs, etc.) in a Christian population. An exploratory factor analysis revealed that Christian R/S, as measured using the MCRSI, is a construct with 2 empirically distinct, yet correlated, dimensions which were conceptually defined as spiritual attitudes/beliefs and religious behaviors. SEM analyses revealed that Christian R/S was significantly associated with positive psychological adjustment after controlling for age and SES, explaining 7% of the variance in psychological adjustment. This relationship was fully mediated by positive relationships with others and purpose in life. Religious social support and religious coping did not significantly mediate the relationship. The relationship was not moderated by gender, ethnicity (Caucasian vs. African-American), peer group salience of Christian R/S, or chronic stress. The entire model (including proposed mediators) explained 59% of the variance in psychological adjustment. Of the two dimensions of R/S, spiritual attitudes/beliefs emerged as a stronger predictor of psychological adjustment than religious behaviors, but religious behaviors had a modest positive association with psychological adjustment through religious social support and a modest association with positive affect through religious coping, even after controlling for spiritual attitudes/beliefs. Implications of these results are discussed.

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